After city staff and neighbors opposed a request to annex five residential properties into the City of Waukesha to make way for Walgreens and Aldi at southwest corner of Sunset Drive and Genesee Road, the proposal was shot down by the commission Wednesday night.
The annexation proposal, which would move five properties from the Town of Waukesha to the City of Waukesha, still needs to go before the Common Council. City staff is recommending against the annexation.
Walgreens, and more recently Aldi, has been in a battle for years in its efforts to raze the residential units and develop the site. After receiving denials from the Town of Waukesha, the developers are attempting to annex the property because they prefer the location.
Mayor Jeff Scrima and two other commissioners – Kevin Larson and R.G. Keller – voted against the denial of the annexation request. Even if the property were to be annexed into the city, the Plan Commission and the Common Council would have to zone the residential property as commercial.
Community Development Specialist Jennifer Andrews noted during the meeting that the city’s land use plan designates the property as residential. There are valid concerns about the businesses disrupting a stable neighborhood, she said.
“The city has always believed that commercial should be sited very cautiously to ensure a number of things,” Andrews said.
There are 108 acres of commercial property within half a mile of the requested annexation, including the Fox Run Shopping Center, which has lost $2.5 million in value – 35 percent – between 2008 and 2011 due to vacancies in that area, according to Andrews.
There are also three pharmacies and three grocery stores within a half mile from the proposed Walgreens and Aldi.
“This area until very recently has always been shown as single-family residential,” Andrews said. “These residents built and purchased their homes believing that this area would remain a single-family neighborhood. The staff finds this change in land use to be inequitable. …. A few would benefit at the cost of the balance of the property owners.”