June 20, 2013
City of Stoughton
Kettle Park West developers eye zoning variances
p Csssc bu s chs
Unifed Newspaper Group
While a problem at thestate level prevented Ket-tle Park West from beingannexed into the city, lastweek questions from thePlanning Commissionshowed there might stillbe some local haggling tobe done over the 142-acreproject on the west side of Stoughton.The commission had sev-eral questions about varianc-es that the developer, For-ward Development Group,might be seeking when itsubmits its general develop-ment plan.Jim Bricker of JSD Pro-fessional Services spoke tothe commission last Mondayabout the concept plan. Andpart of the discussion wasabout variances to the city’sbig-box ordinance (largedevelopment zoning stan-dards) for screening, land-scaping, parking and signagethe developer might want toavoid.All of those are issues thatpotential commercial busi-nesses might have if they tryto build in Kettle Park West,Bricker explained. The firstphase of the planned devel-opment calls for one 11.5-acre lot and five outlots vary-ing from 1.5 to 4.3 acres.The lots would be a mixtureof large retail – as big as120,000 square feet – andother commercial and officespace. The smaller lots couldhave buildings from 5,000 to20,000 square feet.“The reason we’ve beenlooking at the various alter-natives … is because (of)what I’d characterize as ...relatively strong confidenceand interest in users that arenow looking at particularlocations within the KettlePark West commercial area,”Bricker said. “The site doespose some design issues.”The idea of these variancesmet with a somewhat chillyreception from some com-missioners, including coun-cil president Ald. Eric Hohol(Dist. 4).Hohol said he would liketo know what retailers planon moving into the spacebefore making exemptionsfor the company.“I support developmenthere in Stoughton, but …there’s a lot of people in thecommunity that would won-der why we, as the PlanningCommission, would voteto approve a bunch of zon-ing changes … if we don’tknow who the retailer mightbe,” Hohol said. “When isthe time right (to reveal thecompanies)?”Bricker said he didn’tknow when retailers mightbe in a position to say theywere looking to build inStoughton.“The end-user is the onewho is going to be drivingthat discussion,” Brickersaid, referencing whatevercompany chooses to pur-chase or lease land in thedevelopment. “I just cannotrepresent what they’re plan-ning.”Other commissioners, likeAld. Ron Christenson (D-2)were more receptive andcited Stoughton’s need fordevelopment as a reason tocontinue discussions aboutmaking the Kettle Park Westdevelopment a reality.“I don’t need the name of aspecific retailer to be able tomake some of these chang-es,” Christenson said, add-ing that the commission andcouncil will likely rehash alot of the same issues that thecity faced 10 years ago whenWal-Mart wanted build anew store. “This communityneeds an economic kick inthe pants. To make some,not all, but some altera-tions to make it acceptablefor a retailer to come to thiscommunity … I really don’thave any reservations in thataspect.”Future phases of the devel-opment as planned for the295-acre area in the WestsideDetailed Neighborhood Planwould include single andmulti-family residential lots,office space and green space.Preliminary plans indicateabout 78 acres of residentialspace and about 44 acres of open space. Streets and right-of-way area take up about 71acres, while total commercialspace is about 55 acres.For the first phase alone,the developers identifiedmore than a dozen potentialexemptions, including:• The number of parkinglot islands might need to bereduced to allow for storm-water drainage, snow remov-al and more parking.• Screening requirementsof mechanical apparatus suchas heating or ventilation unitsare set at 1,000 feet, whichdevelopers thought wasexcessive.• A solid screening wall,rather than a landscapedberm, might be needed insome spots between lotsbecause of the geography of the area.• Landscaping tree sizemight need to be reduced (atleast for initial planting) togive the trees a better chanceof survival.• The requirement of hav-ing 25 percent of each lot belandscaped might not work given the size of the lots.Actual landscape percent-ages could be as low as 18percent for some lots.• Lighting heights mightneed to be raised for securitypurposes.Christenson said the com-mission hasn’t made anychanges yet, and there’snothing that says it can’tamend any changes theymight make in the future.“My main concern at thispoint in time is that we geta development that fits wellwith the architectural themeand heritage of this com-munity,” Christenson said.“That, to me, is more impor-tant than the name that is sit-ting on the front side of thestore.”Commissioner ScottTruehl, whose professionalbackground is in construc-tion management, saidhe respects the desire forcompanies to keep quietabout their plans, but he not-ed that different companieswill drive design styles andcolor palates for the entirecommercial area.“It shapes parking circu-lation, hours of operation,all those kinds of things,”Truehl said. “While I can cer-tainly appreciate that we maynot know all the answers,certainly understanding howthey’re going to be market-ing this and to whom givesus a better understanding of what the goal is overall.”There was some apprehen-sion from other commission-ers. Ald. Greg Jenson (D-3)echoed Hohol’s concerns.“I would encourage (theretailers) to be up front withall of this,” Jenson said. “Itwould be really hard to votefor any of these exceptionswithout knowing who thatperson is.”No action had been sched-uled on the potential changeslast week. Bricker said thepurpose of the discussionwas to gauge how open thecity would be to exemptingsome of the zoning require-ments. Discussions betweenthe developer and potentialretailers will continue.“Hopefully the next itera-tion comes with more infor-mation,” Bricker said. “(Thisis) just to advance the con-versation along.”
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Thank You Stoughton!
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The “Ella Bella Cinderella” Team!
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Several projects getplanning commission nod
The city’s Planning Commission recommended approv-al of several projects last week, and approved several siteplans for other projects. Final decisions for several of theprojects rest with the Common Council, which will take upthe items at its next meeting, June 25.
RDA survey map
Combine the properties at 314 W. Main Streetand 217 S. Prairie St. into one parcel to make it more attrac-tive to future development. The Planning Commission alsovoted to recommend rezoning the Prairie Street lot fromresidential to Planned Business.
Unanimous approval, council deci-sion will be July 9.
Allow outdoor seating along the front and sideof the restaurant on U.S. Hwy. 51.
Add a 6-foot tall solid fence to create a buf-fer from residential properties along the north end of thearea.
Unanimous approval, but city staff will work on creating another exit for fire safety. Recco-mendation sent to council.
Adding 6,750 square feet to a warehouse in thebusiness park to allow the company, Thermal Design, Inc.,to improve operations.
Unanimous approval, but city staff will work on making sure driveway complies with code or is given avariance
Sons of Norway
Approving a site plan to allow for handicapaccess with a small enclosure addition to the front of thebuilding.
Rezoning a residential property on the 500block of Kensington Square to allow for a 60-square-footdeck addition.
Unanimous approval; sent to council
‘This community needs an economic kick in the pants.’
Ald. Ron Christenson (D-2)
‘There’s a lot of people in the community that would wonder why we, as thePlanning Commission, would vote toapprove a bunch of zoning changes … if we don’t know who the retailer might be.’
Ald. Eric Hohol (D-4)