9/28/2005

Falls Board approves Main Street Redevelopment Plan: Menomonee Falls (WI) Express News, 9/26/05

By Thomas J. McKillen

The Menomonee Falls Village Board approved the Main Street Redevelopment Plan Sept. 19.

The Main Street Redevelopment Plan addresses the area on Main Street between Pilgrim Road and Hwy. 41/45.

Village President Rick Rechlicz and Trustee Jeff Steliga abstained from the vote. Rechlicz law office is in the area while Jeff Steliga is on the board of Falls Festival Corporation, which owns a building that was previously used as a theater.

While a public hearing on the plan and the Northeast Area Plan July 26 prompted comment from many residents who packed the Village Board room and at three other meeting spaces, only a handful of residents were present when the Village Board approved the Main Street Redevelopment Plan last week.

The Plan Commission previously approved the Northeast Area Plan, which involved changes to the Land Use Plan for the northeast section of the village. During discussion on the Main Street Redevelopment Plan Sept. 19, Trustee Sharon Ellis explained that changes to the plan were made by the Community Development Authority (CDA) that eliminated “misleading pictures that could lead to some confusion in the community” while a map was added that included street names.

Ellis said the CDA “took the feelings and the opinions of the public very much to heart” in making changes and recommending approval of the plan.

Ellis later sought to reassure property owners concerned by how they will be affected by the plan. “The intention of this is to protect your investment in the area — not to bulldoze them — to assist all of the property owners in the area to make it even more successful in the future, not to harm it in any fashion,” Ellis said.

Trustee Michael McDonald also sought to reassure business owners in the area. “We’re not here to jeopardize anybody. What we’re here to do is try to provide some direction to protect your investment, to protect your businesses and try to enhance them as the result of infill (development). What this does is it provides us with a blueprint of what could potentially could go there,” McDonald said. McDonald said that as projects come before the Village Board residents and business owners will have the opportunity to provide input as well as suggest improvements and recommended density for the area.

Trustee Randy Newman also described the plan as a “blueprint” and said the village will need to allocate funds to market the area along with other sections of the village to the private sector. “We just can’t expect this piece of paper to work — we have to work towards it,” Newman said.

Ellis said the next steps would include examining financing options for implementing the plan, which would likely occur in October or November. In addition, the zoning and other development guidelines will have to be reviewed over the next several months. Ellis further added that a motion may come before the Village Board to have the CDA implement the plan. Trustee Dennis Farrell noted the city of Glendale had success having its CDA implement a redevelopment plan.

Trustee Jim Jeskewitz added “this is not a short term plan” and that it could take 15 to 20 years to implement. “It’s going to open the door to new development, to redevelopment and hope we can improve that whole Main Street corridor,” Jeskewitz said.

After the meeting, Dominic Alioto Sr. said he remained concerned about protecting his investment in the area, despite reassurances from several trustees. Dominic Alioto Jr. questioned the impact of new development on his business. “Why do I need an investor if I already have a business there — why do I need an investor? Investors would be for what — to buy my property? I don’t want to sell my property,” Alioto Jr. said.


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