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Land Use Plan Amendment Would Clear Way for Walmart

The retail giant has officially submitted a request to amend the county's land use plan to bring it in line with Caledonia's plan.

**Updated 10:15 a.m. Jan. 18

Plans are seemingly always subject to change as present-day circumstances emerge. In Caledonia, Walmart is hoping to rewrite the village's plans for the future to accomodate a new supercenter. 

Walmart has submitted an official request to amend the Racine County comprehensive plan for the southeast corner of 4-Mile and Green Bay Roads. 

Walmart is proposing a 180,000-square-foot supercenter similar to the one in Mount Pleasant. Their first choice was the corner of 4-Mile Road and Highway 31, but Caledonia's land use plan is very specific about preserving that area as green space.

The Neighborhood Market last summer for the same reason. Residents in Mount Pleasant, however, will see a Neighborhood Market built just west of the intersection of Highways 31 and 20 sometime this year because the development fits with that village's land use plan.

Walmart pulled back from Caledonia a bit after its first proposal and presented new plans in September for the new site because the village's land use plan allows for a village center there comprised of commercial and retail development.

The crux of the issue is that the county designates the land as residential while Caledonia defines it as mixed use, including commercial and retail. Whether or not the village has any legal standing to oppose the new store remains to be seen. 

Walmart is highlighting the inconsistency and asking that the plans be aligned. The company also points out that the parcel is included in the Douglas Avenue Neighborhood Plan and "commercial uses along this corridor serve the entire Village and are a valued resource."

"Adopting a comprehensive plan amendment for this property would align the Racine County Plan with the Caledonia Plan and the uses intended for the property," the application from Walmart reads.

Walmart officials point out in their request that adequate utility connections already exist and the property is adjacent to other commercial and industrial sites. The company also notes that the store will pay taxes, helping take some of the burden for funding village services off of current property owners.

Residents, though, offer little support for the development. 

A group of neighbors pulled together in November to talk about their opposition to the project and efforts to gather as many signatures as they can to pressure trustees into voting their way.

According to Julie Anderson from the county planning department, any changes have to come from the village.

"It's up the Caledonia Plan Commission and the Village Board to make any changes to the land use plan," she said. "The county has no decision-making authority."

As for what happens next, Village Administrator Mark Janiuk said the village's Plan Commission will do some investigations and formulate their recommendations. This step will take place before the required public hearing.

The Plan Commission regularly meets the last Wednesday of the month. Their next scheduled meeting is at 6 p.m. Jan. 30 at the East Side Community Center.

Heather in Caledonia January 19, 2013 at 07:36 PM
So, if they're asking the county zoning to be changed, who do we contact at the county to give our opinion as to whether it should be changed or not?
KEEP ON KEEPING ON January 19, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Julie Anderson and Jarmen Czuta with the Racine County Planning and Development received and review the requests, but in terms of our Village leaders, this goes to the Planning Commission 1st and they make recommendations to our Board. The Board ultimately votes.
Heather Asiyanbi January 21, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Neither Julie Anderson nor Jarmen Czuta have anything to do with changing the village's land use plan or the rezoning process Walmart has requested. As stated above, all decisions will be done at the village level, first at the Plan Commission (possibly as early as Jan. 30) and then with the Village Board.
KEEP ON KEEPING ON January 21, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Heather, I did try to make it clear that they receive and review applications for Caledonia and doi not vote on the matter. But Mr. Czuta attends our Planning Commission meetings and advises our Commission, it seems on zoning, ordinance and regulation issues. I do believe people do have a right to contact him regarding such things. I have asked Mrs. Anderson and Mr. Czuta for clarification on a number of procedures and they have been quite helpful. As far as January 30th, the Planning Commission agenda has been posted on the village calendar since Friday the 18th-a public hearing on rezoning land for the new A&W. Per what Julie Anderson conveyed to me, there must be a 30 day time frame prior to the scheduled date of the meeting for public posts and notifications.
Heather Asiyanbi January 21, 2013 at 03:05 PM
@Keep - the county acts as village employees when they attend PC meetings and advise members, is how I understand it, no different than the planning staff in Mount Pleasant advises members of the PC there.

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