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Caledonia Walmart rezoning request withdrawn

Caledonia Walmart rezoning request withdrawn

Walmart site

Wal-Mart proposed a site for one of their stores at a farm field at the intersection of Four Mile Road and North Green Bay Road in Caledonia. / Scott Anderson 

RACINE — Wal-Mart has abandoned its bid for a store at the southeast corner of 4 Mile and North Green Bay roads.

Owners of the parcels where the company had proposed constructing a 185,000-square-foot development sent letters to Village President Bob Bradley this week stating that “Wal-Mart Real Estate Trust” had terminated its contract for the purchase of the property.

As a result, the owners — members of the Betchkal Revocable Living Trust — wrote they would be withdrawing both their applications to change the zoning and the future land use plan for the two parcels where the 24-hour store would have been built.

Attempts to reach trust members on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

A statement from Wal-Mart spokesman Delia Garcia that was emailed to The Journal Times on Wednesday did not address the question of why the retail giant pulled the plug on the plan for the store at 4 Mile.

As for whether Wal-Mart was currently looking at any other options for a new Caledonia store, the answer was “no.”

“We do not plan to pursue a project in Caledonia at this time but will continue to look for opportunities to better serve the region ...” the statement read.

Wal-Mart first approached the village about constructing a store at 4 Mile and North Green Bay roads in September 2012.

The proposal, which came about a year after a proposal for a smaller, 115,000-square-foot store at the northwest corner of 4 Mile Road and Highway 31 was rejected, was quickly met with vocal opposition from area homeowners.

They said the proposed project would bring increased crime to the area, have a negative impact on area businesses and a disrupt the rural solitude.

Those residents quickly came together to form a front against the project.

Local real estate agent Katie Tiderman, 40, who was among those who led the charge, said Wednesday that although the process has been exhausting she “relishes” that the “right and proper way” won out.

“Yes, I am happy there is no Wal-Mart going there. Yes, I am happy for my neighbors, but more importantly I want to live in a community where I do feel that things are done with transparency and an open dialogue.”

Hearing still on

The next step for Tiderman and her neighbors, she said, is to remain vigilant about making sure future land use plans prevent any other big-box store from being constructed at the site.

Although the Betchkal Revocable Living Trust is no longer working to sell the parcel to Wal-Mart, the letters sent by trust members Rita Lui and Robert L. Betchkal to Bradley stated that although they no longer want to see the land’s future use designated as commercial zoning, they do not want to see it changed to “office park” zoning, as Tiderman has proposed. The future land use plan currently in place for the parcels calls for them to be zoned “urban residential.”

The parcels are currently zoned residential and manufacturing.

“We have absolutely no idea of what the future holds for our property,” the letters state. “We are satisfied with the present land use designation.”

The village is holding a public hearing on the various proposals at 6 p.m. on Sept. 23 at the East Side Community Center, 6156 Douglas Ave.

It’s a hearing that the homeowners in the area “want” and “deserve” Tiderman said.

“This area of land, among others, has been targeted by the village since January 2012 to review and possibly revise,” she said.

If You Go

WHAT: Public hearing on proposals for future land use for southeast corner of 4 Mile and North Green Bay roads

WHERE: East Side Community Center, 6156 Douglas Ave., Caledonia

WHEN: 6 p.m. Sept. 23


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