As you may have read in last week’s Legal Notices, Hy-Vee wants to put a grocery store in Waunakee. I’m not opposed to the store, but I have concerns. First of all, why is Hy-Vee applying for a Conditional Use Permit this early in the process? This site hasn’t been rezoned properly, no plat map or CSM for the site has been approved, and the property hasn’t even been annexed into the village yet. We have already seen negligence with other recent village decisions. The library site hasn’t been rezoned properly yet, several ordinances were violated while approving Hovde, and now, AFTER the groundbreaking, is when the hearing for removing the Hovde alley will finally be held. It is much easier to make the right decision the first time instead of backtracking. It might also be helpful if there is a Hy-Vee open house, like what was done for the zoning changes, as well as a Plan Commission consultation first, so residents can provide feedback on what they want to see in a new grocery store. I hope that the Plan Commission takes no action on the site plan and CUP at their next meeting. Join me at the Plan Commission meeting on June 7 at 6 p.m. at the Village Center to learn more about the store and Terrence Wall’s rezoning.
Rezone could change village character
T. Wall has requested a rezone of the homes in the 200 block of West Second Street from R3 Residential (single and two-family) to C1D Downtown Commercial. West Second Street is a quiet tree lined street a block off Main Street. The reason he is requesting the rezone is to build a large apartment complex which would encompass almost the entire block bordered by Main Street, Fish, West, and Second Street. The last plan he presented to neighbors still had 140+ units, even though the planning commission told him the same plan was too dense for the site.
Rezoning this block of West Second Street would open the door for anything allowed in the Commercial downtown district. This includes commercial enterprises like bars, tobacco shops, dance halls, etc. The list is quite extensive. It would amount to spot zoning that one block as the rest of West Second Street is single or two-family residences.
Rezoning should comply with the comprehensive plan. Waunakee’s comprehensive plan has sections which deal with traffic and safety. It notes that one of our community weaknesses is poor traffic flow on Main Street. We already have Madison and Main and now the Hovde apartment complex so about 180 dwelling units were added recently. Making the West Second Street block commercial would add to those traffic woes. Page 45 of the plan says the circulation and parking patterns in downtown Waunakee should be redesigned to provide better access to businesses from Secondary Streets and relieve pressures on Main Street. Commercial usage expansion will add to traffic, not alleviate it.
The plan also notes the importance of preserving affordable housing and rehabilitating existing stock. The homes on West Second Street would be ideal for a rehabilitation program. Future land use changes should be compatible with existing uses, especially in existing neighborhoods. This is a residential street so commercial zoning is not compatible. One of the recurring themes in the comprehensive plan is Waunakee should retain its character and small-town feel. Moving a commercial district into a residential area has neighbors worried that the commercial then could continue to creep from Main Street towards the high school. Citizens want Waunakee to keep its character. Please attend the plan commission meeting and public hearing on Thursday, June 7, at 6 p.m. at the Village Center to oppose the rezoning of the homes on West Second Street.