Meijer store gets final approval from Common Council

By Matt Masterson - Freeman Staff

August 20, 2014

WAUKESHA - After a lengthy discussion, the final site plan for a proposed 200,000-square foot Meijer store at the corner of Sunset Drive and Tenny Avenue was approved by the Common Council.

Members of the council discussed and debated for more than an hour Tuesday night before eventually coming to an 11-3 decision in favor of the site plan and architectural Planned Unit Development  review.

The plan earned the approval of the city’s Plan Commission last week with the added recommendations that the developers consider flipping around the gas station that is to be built on the site off of Sunset Drive.

Much of the discussion Tuesday night focused on a study provided by Brian Randall, an attorney representing Meijer, which showed the sightline for residents along Sunset Drive would likely be above the headlights from cars pulling into the 24-hour fuel station. Added trees and shrubbery would also be put in place to help cut down any lights that might otherwise shine on local homes.

Still, some council members were not convinced.

“When I am looking at this, I am not taken on it, I am not falling for what they are saying,” Alderman Eric Payne said. “Some of what they are saying is true, but the shrubbery and the trees you are showing, we are talking about 10 years out before those things do any sort of shading.”

Some residents of the area have asked that the fuel station be scrapped entirely at past meetings, including last week’s Plan Commission meeting.

Alderman Steve Johnson pointed out that the station is allowed in the zoning of the property, but said he hoped that developers would still consider flipping around the station - so it would be pointed toward the Meijer store - believing that would reduce the potential for problems with the lights.

Alderwoman Kathleen Cummings reiterated that the discussion about the validity of the gas station had long since been put to rest.

“The battle on whether or not this site was going to be developed was lost a year ago when the summons was changed - it was on that night when the gas station was allowed,” Cummings said. “So tonight, you are either going to support the project or you’re not.”

She did not - voting against the plan along with Payne and Johnson.

Randall said four other Meijer stores are already under construction and are expected to be opened sometime in 2015.

“We are looking forward to final approval this evening here in Waukesha so Meijer can become a property owner here in the city, close down their real estate transaction and ultimately start building the store on Sunset Drive,” he said.