Tourist information site rezoned for commercial developmentThe city’s consulting engineers, Foth Infrastructure & Environment, suggested further study of whether a raised-curb median should be constructed in Gateway Boulevard north of Crest View Drive in their review of the proposed subdivision.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The former freeway rest stop and tourist information site along I-94 in Hudson was rezoned for commercial development by the City Council Monday night.
After considerable discussion of traffic concerns, the council also approved a subdivision map of the 16.2 acres, with the contingency that a future developer’s agreement address issues raised in a traffic impact study.
The city’s consulting engineers, Foth Infrastructure & Environment, suggested further study of whether a raised-curb median should be constructed in Gateway Boulevard north of Crest View Drive in their review of the proposed subdivision.
The median would restrict access to the McDonald’s and Taco Bell restaurants and Kwik Trip gas station along Crest View Drive to right-turn in and right-turn out only.
Alderperson Mary Yacoub has supported requiring the median to be built.
“I think there could be a lot of positives that could come out of what we talked about in the Plan Commission,” said Yacoub, also a member of the commission.
The commission apparently talked about requiring the right-in, right-out access to the restaurants and station-store as a way of reducing congestion on Crest View Drive at the Gateway Boulevard and Carmichael Road intersections.
Community Development Director Dennis Darnold said that a public hearing should be held to give the affected businesses and property owners an opportunity for input if the city moves ahead with access design changes.
Vehicles leaving the businesses would have to turn right (west) on Crest View Drive, or travel on a new street to be constructed through the former tourist information property. The vehicles would come out at a new traffic-light controlled intersection on Crest View in front of the Walmart store.
David Robson, a partner in the limited liability company developing the former tourist information property, said the partners are willing to play a role in making the design changes if the commission decides they are needed.
But the congestion problem at Crest View and Gateway already exists, and shouldn’t be used to slow down approval of the subdivision, Robson said.
“They caused it in the first place,” he said of the businesses on the north side of Crest View.
Yacoub, too, said she didn’t want the traffic issue to hold up the commercial development of the former tourist information center property, which formerly was zoned for public use.
Alderperson John Hoggatt said he could not see how the street design would affect the property lines of the three commercial lots and one outlot in the proposed certified survey map.
The council ultimately agreed with him, and voted 6-0 to approve the survey map, with the contingency that the later developer’s agreement address traffic concerns.
“All traffic is going to increase in that area,” Darnold noted during the discussion.
In other action, the City Council:
--Approved a two-year contract, with an option for a third year, to receive assessment services from Bowmar Appraisal Inc. Bowmar is the company that did the city’s property assessing for 28 years before losing the contract at the start of 2011 to Accurate Appraisal of Menasha. The city didn’t have a good experience with Accurate and requested new proposals for assessment services.
Bowmar’s bid of $34,300 for 2013, $34,900 for 2014, and $35,300 for the option year of 2015 came in higher than a competitor’s, but the council honored the city staff’s request to return to Bowmar for assessment services.
The other bidder, Associated Appraisal Consultants, didn’t get a good recommendation from the city of New Richmond, which recently switched from Associated to Bowmar, Darnold reported. The bid from Associated was $27,900 per year for the three years.
--Postponed action on a recommendation from the Joint Fire Board to approve an automatic aid agreement with the Roberts-Warren Fire Department. The agreement would require the Hudson Fire Department to automatically send a pumper engine and four firefighters to any fire call as far west as Hwy. 65 in the town of Warren. The purpose of the agreement is to reduce homeowner insurance prices for residents in Warren and the town of Hudson. Mayor Alan Burchill wanted proof that the agreement would actually result in lower premiums.
--Approved a contract to have Clifton Larson Allen perform the city’s 2012 audit. The fee will be based on the firm’s standard hourly rates, plus travel and out-of-pocket expenses. The total is expected to be around $30,000.