CALEDONIA — After a drawn-out series of discussions regarding a proposed Casey’s General Store at the corner of Four Mile Road and Charles Street, the Caledonia Village Board gave the project final approval, with conditions.
During the citizens’ reports at Monday’s meeting, some residents living near the proposed site voiced frustration, saying they didn’t feel they were being heard by their representatives.
“I think you should listen to the people that live there and know what’s going on,” said Nancy Jern.
Others had heard that due to legal issues, the board may not have grounds to outright reject the proposal, but they asked the board to do what it could to accommodate residents’ concerns.
“All we’re asking if this has to happen, even if the constituents are strongly opposed to this business coming to this corner, what we’re asking is that hours be in accordance with the businesses on Four Mile and Charles Street,” said Rubin Guardiola.
Before voting on the conditional-use permit, the board asked village attorney Elaine Ekes to give an overview of Wisconsin Statute 59.69(5e)(b)(1) which was passed in 2017. The statues essentially states that if an applicant meets all zoning conditions and requirements, it must be granted a permit unless a municipality can provide a fact-based reason for denying it.
“The Plan Commission and the Village Board, they’re hearing what the concerns of the neighborhood are, but they’re balancing that with the zoning and the conditions,” said Ekes. “They have to base their decision on what the current zoning of the parcel is.”
Trustee Ed Willing, in his motion to approve the permit, added a few conditions the board had discussed in advance: limit the stores hours from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m; no 24-hour gas pumps; and that Casey’s provide a lighting plan that would include dimming lights after business hours.
The board passed the resolution unanimously.
No-go on zoning change
The board did not approve an application to change the zoning of northernmost 55 feet of the parcel from residential to business.
Trustee Jay Benkowski recommended rejecting the zoning change “because it would be deleterious to the neighbor to the north.”
The zoning change was denied by a vote of 4-3 with Benkowski, Trustee Kathy Trentadue, Trustee Willing and Trustee Lee Wishau voting in opposition.
The current Casey’s plan does not include any construction on that strip of land. Company officials said the project would not be hurt by the board's decisions.