Plans for a Woodman’s grocery store in Waukesha cleared another hurdle last night when the city’s common council approved zoning and land use changes for the proposed site, 33.7 acres on the northwestern corner of East Main Street and Les Paul Parkway.
The council approved amending the land use of the site from an industrial to commercial designation and the zoning from manufacturing and industrial park districts to a community business district. The changes .
The property, currently owned by Spancrete Industries Inc., was used for manufacturing but has been vacant since the company closed in May. The request to change the zoning and land use was made by Spancrete and Woodman’s Food Market Inc., however city officials were also supportive of the change.
“This is like hitting the reset button on 33 acres in the heart of the city,” city planner Jennifer Andrews said.
Now that the site is essentially vacant and not being used for manufacturing any longer, city planners have the opportunity to determine the best long-term use of the land and the surrounding area and recommend changes accordingly, Andrews said.
“The city has really grown up around this property and the property is no longer at the edge of town like it once was. We have to ask, considering the neighborhood make-up, is this still a viable location for heavy manufacturing?” Andrews said. “In the long term, commercial use is a better use for this property.”
The property is in Alderman Christopher Hernandez’s district and he was supportive of the changes, based on feedback from people in his area.
“I’ve had a lot of complaints from constituents that everything’s growing on the southwest part of Waukesha and … to have something like this so we can start expanding on the eastern part of Waukesha, I think this is an absolute step in the right direction,” he said.
The council approved the changes 14-1 with Alderman Kathleen Cummings casting the dissenting vote.
Cummings objected to the rezoning because of a concern about the city losing manufacturing after see a number of properties rezoned from manufacturing. However, Community Development Director Steven Crandell said that while the city has rezoned land from manufacturing, they have also rezoned vacant land to manufacturing.
Alan Antoniewicz, president of Spancrete, and Bret Backus, Woodman’s vice president of real estate, addressed the common council briefly to ask them to support the zoning changes. Backus said that their employee-owned company was looking forward to being a part of the Waukesha community.