CALEDONIA — Several Caledonia residents came out in opposition to a proposed Casey’s General Store during a public hearing at Monday’s Caledonia Plan Commission meeting.
Eleven citizens voiced their opposition to the project proposed for the northeastern corner of Four Mile Road and Charles Street during the public hearing segment of the meeting.
The most frequently voiced concern was over the impact the convenience store and gas station would have on traffic, particularly on Four Mile Road, a two-lane thoroughfare that is mostly residential east of Douglas Avenue.
“That’s a horrible intersection for anyone who’s driven there with any regularity,” said Chris Peterson, who lives on Charles Street near the site. “You compound that situation with traffic trying to turn in, traffic trying to turn out …”
Lauren Downing, an assistant project manager with Arc Design Resources of Rockford, Ill., which is working with Casey’s, said that the traffic impact analysis for the proposal was delayed because of the holidays, which would have skewed vehicle counts. Downing said an executive summary of the analysis could be submitted to the village in a week or so.
Others questioned the need for another convenience store or gas station. Caledonia resident Linda Mielke said that with gas stations at Four Mile and Douglas Avenue, Four Mile and Erie Street and Three Mile and Erie, she didn’t understand the need for one at Four Mile and Charles.
“Do we want to be known as a community with a gas station at every crossroads?” she asked.
Neighbors of the proposed site were also concerned Casey’s extended hours would draw late-night traffic and noise to the area. Kevin Barber said he was concerned the extra activity might increase the risk of crime in the neighborhood.
Downing said the typical Casey’s hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the store would like to leave open the possibility of extending those hours. The Village Board could limit the location’s hours as one of its conditions for operations.
Charles Blackwell said he was concerned about the environmental impact of having a gas station at the site and suggested the commission should think about the long-term plan for the site.
“This is changing it to something that you can never change it back,” he said.
Some of the other concerns were over lighting, whether or not there would be a fence on the north side of the property, and drainage issues.
After the public hearing, village Trustee Kevin Wanggaard suggested that the commission revisit Casey’s rezoning application at its Jan. 29 meeting. That way the village would have all seven commissioners present (three were absent Monday), the results of the traffic analysis and have a chance to talk with the county about the future of the intersection before making a decision.