The Village of Birchwood Board of Trustees held a Public Hearing at the Birchwood Village Hall on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at the Birchwood Village Hall 101 N. Main Street, Birchwood, WI 54817
The meeting was called to order. Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Roll call: Depoister, Hurckman, Seffinga, Small, and VanGilder – present.
The request is from “Knapmiller Children’s Trust” for a Zoning Change from Rural Development (RD) to Community Business District (C-1) for property located at Hwy 48 from LaPoint Drive to Maple Terrace Road, and Government Lot 2. Ronald Knapmiller explains that Dollar General, through Platt Development, had approached him regarding purchase of the property. He would like to rezone so the sale may progress.
Hurckman states that if zoned RD, it would be for soft commercial.
There are no questions from the board at this time.
Hurckman opens the floor to residents, reminding them of the three-minute comment limit, and no rebuttal period.
• Pam Landis has concerns for additional traffic, property owners at the lakeshore, and for current businesses in Birchwood who can’t compete with the Dollar General prices.
• Linda Zillmer has concerns about Village trustee brokering the deal. (no trustee brokered the deal, but did give Village tour to Platt.) She states the announcement was not appropriate. (posted in weekly paper two weeks; letters sent to homeowners on affected streets; posted at Village Hall, Gary’s Grocery, Village Web Site, and Post Office two weeks before hearing.) Concerns for well-head protection. She does not want it rezoned; Village should purchase the property.
• Betsy Acrey speaks about the well-head protection and the future of the water. Has concern for the cost for the Village to put in water and sewer; concern about a resident who does not have water/sewer because the Village wouldn’t pay for it. (residents are responsible to hook up their water/sewer to Village lines; this resident has now completed the hook up.) She is concerned about property value going down; mom and pop businesses can’t compete; all the money currently in Village (schools, programs, clubs, etc.) comes from mom and pop businesses and big business (like Dollar General) don’t contribute. She feels that many businesses are for sale now; don’t need outside business. Has questions about pond retention, flood plain and/or flooding issues. Village needs to think about what we are; questions “what is your skin made of?”
• Betty Blanch thinks it’s a good thing to have Dollar General come in. She can’t afford anything here and has to make a trip to Rice Lake for everything. It is not just summer people here (in the Village).
• Jon Paquette is positive for it. Will still visit local shops. Jobs will be created and it may also encourage others to come to Village.
• Ernie Langosh is positive for it. It will create more jobs.
• Renee Duhela is opposed to it because she has two businesses in the Village; concerned about creating jobs and then losing from others. Concerned for the cost to the Village; will we raise taxes and water costs?
• Bob Knapmiller has lived here all his life and wants to dispel rumors. Dollar General came to them. We have great businesses in Village and no one will suffer. He finds the Dollar General to be aesthetically nice.
• Ron Knapmiller appreciates all comments and Linda’s support. Dollar General does not violate well-head protection; they would use permeable pavers and holding tank. Property values will not be affected; the Dollar General will not be visible from the lake homes. Progress will happen and businesses have competition all the time.
Hurckman states this hearing is just about rezoning. After Village rezones we will move forward with Dollar General plans.
• Betsy Acrey speaks to the cost about getting services to the site, “Village shouldn’t have to pay.”
• Linda Zillmer states she will file a lawsuit if we move forward to rezone.
Hurckman closes public comment.
Motion by Hurckman, second by Depoister to table the discussion until September 13, 2016 Board of Trustee meeting, carried 5-0.
Motion by Small, second by Hurckman to adjourn the meeting, carried 5-0.
Submitted by Kathy Paquette