City decision on Heritage Greens commercial expansion postponedAfter considering arguments for and against expansion of a planned business district in the Heritage Greens neighborhood last Thursday night, the Hudson Plan Commission sent the developer back to the drawing board.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
After considering arguments for and against expansion of a planned business district in the Heritage Greens neighborhood last Thursday night, the Hudson Plan Commission sent the developer back to the drawing board.
BrightKeys Building & Development Corp. officials came to the meeting with a scaled-back proposal from the one they presented at an April 10 public hearing. Instead of asking to expand the business district from 4.4 acres to 10.25 acres, they requested an increase to 8.7 acres.
BrightKeys Director of Development Phil Dommer said the company also would eliminate a gas station/convenience store from its plans.
The station store, he indicated, would instead be located on the south side of Hanley Road on land owned by Bieneman Farm LLC, a limited liability corporation that BrightKeys owner C.R. Hackworthy also is a partner in.
The concessions weren’t enough to please most members of the standing-room-only audience that attended the meeting in the City Council chambers. Most were residents of Heritage Greens and the adjoining Red Cedar Canyon development.
Plan Commission members, too, said BrightKeys hadn’t gone far enough to placate neighboring homeowners. After two and a half hours of discussion, they voted to postpone action on BrightKeys’ request and instructed the developer to come up with a more acceptable proposal.
The motion by Tim Caruso, seconded by Fred Yoerg, was approved on a voice vote with no opposition. The other members of the Plan Commission in attendance were Mayor Dean Knudson, the chairman, Alderman Alan Burchill, Don Mailloux and David Selissen.
Park Board Chairman Pat Casanova, the remaining member of the commission, was absent.
Knudson reviewed the issues concerning BrightKeys’ request to amend the conditional use permit for Heritage Greens at the start of the meeting.
He then gave BrightKeys up to 30 minutes to present its revised plan, followed by a 30-minute period for public input.
After that, the Plan Commission was supposed to discuss the proposal. Both the developer’s and public’s comments ran longer than planned, however, and the commission didn’t begin discussing the proposal until an hour and a half or more into the meeting.
Also present were Randy Beck of Royal Credit Union and Dan Bilmer of Accessible Space Inc.
Beck said the Eau Claire-based credit union wants to build a 7,500- to 8,000-square-foot facility in the proposed Heritage Greens business district.
Accessible Space Inc., a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization that provides housing and services for people with physical disabilities and brain injuries, has applied for federal funding to build a 15-unit residential facility in Heritage Greens.
Numerous Red Cedar Canyon and Heritage Greens homeowners spoke against BrightKeys’ revised plan — and a few supported it.
“That’s a lot of parking lot, a lot of concrete, compared to the original plan,” Joshua Miller said of the 424 parking spaces that he said are shown on BrightKeys’ latest business district plan. He said the plan for the original 4.4-acre business district had 175 parking spaces.
Miller was pleased with the removal of the station store from the plan. It would have been behind his Red Cedar Canyon home.
Homeowners remained concerned about a planned four-story apartment building and the overall size of the business and multi-family housing districts.
“There has been progress, and there needs to be more,” said Knudson.