I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.
It has come to my attention some people want to know how development happens in a City, so I figured I would write about it. For some of the avid readers of mine, some of this will be taken out of old posts as we need to have some common understandings first to all be on the same page.
The adding of business conditions on Cudahy Station is tricky, because of the involvement of the council and CDA. If a business is not regulated by municipal ordinance or code (roller rinks hours of operation are in city code, for example), then it would be up to the Plan Commission to put any additional restrictions on a business. The Plan Commission has certain powers and they could have made any reasonable conditions, such as hours of operation, noise, landscaping, at the Plan Commission level.
However, here is the tricky part, because this is a public / private partnership between business and government (council and CDA), either or both body could ask for business conditions to be added into the development agreement, or as additional conditions (an addendum) to the agreement. The key here is ask. So far they have not asked. McCue made a mention of it in his reason for not explaining, but the conditions were not asked yet. But usually, main restrictions would be at the Plan Commission level and would have been set in advance for both parties to look at. This did not occur.
Razing fees for big box stores is something that I brought up at the first Master Plan meeting and is something that should be hammered in to any big deal. Don’t get me wrong, I want the Wal-Mart in Cudahy, but it needs to be a nice looking store and has to have the right conditions on it. I think putting in a clause that will either force Wal-Mart to find a new tenant in reasonable defined time or include something which assesses developers a fee that can be used for demolition if needed, as counterproductive to attracting new business, is needed.
We need to protect the city from unneeded and unsightly vacant sites, so-called ghost boxes, the remains of what are often big box stores left vacant when retailers downsize, relocate or go out of business.
Hours of operation – I am in support of a 24-hour store as long as crime during that time doesn’t increase. Typically, Supercenters are open 24 hours and with its location just next to Patrick Cudahy, which employs people who work all shifts, it makes sense. It would be nice when the kids get sick late at night to be able to shop close to home at anytime. The Walgreen’s is no longer open 24 hours with the closest one in South Milwaukee, I was told from a manger at the Cudahy store. I say let the store stay open for the 24-hours but watch it for crime at those hours, if after a set time period, 6, 9 months or 1 year mark, look over the crime reports. Why get all upset about something that may not happen, why not do the right thing and watch for it? It may not even be a problem.
Lighting – Work with the Police department, the city personnel and the citizens on the lighting. Make sure the lighting is very good, yet is not over done for the residents who will complain.
Noise – Use nature barriers like shrubs and bushes rather than fences where you can. It will give a good look as well as natural look and appeal. The use of Evergreens is best since it will keep its foliage year-round.
Look at these things as well - adopt a big-box ordinance that requires developers of buildings 50,000 square feet and larger to set aside 20 cents a square foot in the city's land conservation fund.
Higher architectural standards that make buildings easier to reuse; requiring developers to take out demolition bonds; and banning clauses in leases that prohibit the owner of a building, once vacated, from renting it to a retailer's competitor.
Take a look at Wauwatosa's provisions has been touted by the American Planning Association as one of the innovative ways communities can protect themselves if a retailer departs.
In the end, discussion is the best thing to do and it takes all of the parties involved to do. Without discussion, you would never know if someone would be willing to change something or if someone has a better idea.