By Joe Bachman
A conditional use permit for a proposed Kwik Trip has been sent back to common council by the planning commission after a month’s delay.
The proposed location of a new Kwik Trip on the corner of Lincoln St. and E. Riverview Expressway drew heat in recent months due to concerns of traffic and noise to the quiet Dewey St. neighborhood. Kwik Trip amended their original plans to include 18 conditions to satisfy nearby homeowners — conditions ranging from planting trees to block out light pollution, limiting hours of the car wash, and restricting music from overhead speakers at gas pumps.
“I felt there were some things I wanted Kwik Trip to revisit,” said alderperson Scott Kellogg, who made the motion last May to send the proposal back to planning commission. “Why not buy one month? — let’s see if we can make any changes.”
Kellogg’s suggestions included spinning the building so that the parking lot faces the expressway, building a right turn lane on 1st St. South by the expressway, and building an eight foot high fence around the perimeter — sentiments later echoed by alderperson Jim Stack.
However, the majority of the planning commission still favored the proposal, and recognized the 18 additional conditions Kwik Trip has already put in place for the location. Commission member Tim Birkhauser expressed frustration that has come with bringing any new business to the Wisconsin Rapids area.
“As a younger member of this community I get frustrated every time we try to have some progress and do something,” said Birkhauser. “As a city I feel like we have a tendency to push everything away, and in this situation there could be way worse neighbors for that zoning than Kwik Trip — it’s time to embrace people that want to come to Wisconsin Rapids.”
“We’re not approving something as is today and living with it the rest of our lives,” said Mayor Zach Vruwink. “It’s approving something and continuing to monitor it.” — “Without the conditional use they [Kwik Trip] can’t budget for the development next year. We’re living within ‘is it going to happen at all in 2017, or maybe never'”
While not required before approval of the development of the property, a traffic impact analysis of the area is close to completion which will determine if modifications are necessary to adequately handle the proposed traffic, and alleviate traffic concerns. Additional revisions now include a six foot fence along 6th St. to block out light pollution and car headlights and added landscaping.
If approved by common council, development of the new Kwik Trip could start as early as 2017.