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Meijer Rezoning Concerns Land Owner

The Village Board amended its land use map Tuesday to accommodate a Meijer store; however, the man who owns that land says village leaders overreached.

There’s no doubt the proposed 200,000-square-foot Meijer development has created a buzz amongst residents in Sussex lately. But the Schellin brothers, who own the land on which the store would be built, have concerns about their future.

The Village Board on Tuesday rezoned the Schellin’s land to make way for the big-box retailer and gas station that will rest on 20 acres of the roughly 68 acre plot. Steven Schellin supports the Meijer development, but he feels the village went too far by deeming 18 acres of his land an environmental corridor, which undevelopable for future buyers.

“We support the Meijer project and those changes required to be made in order to make the project a success. However, Meijer has not purchased the land yet, and my brother and I bear all the risk associated with the property if the project does not succeed.”

An amendment was necessary to merge disparate land uses on Schellin’s property and create a uniform plot for Meijer to build upon. The Village Board approved the amended land use map unanimously Tuesday.

Schellin said surveyors from the Department of Natural Resources, FEMA, and the Army Corps of Engineers had delineated a 5.9-acre boundary for an environmental corridor on his land. Instead, the village approved an environmental corridor that eats up roughly 12.1 more acres. Essentially, that’s 12.1 more acres that developers can’t build on, and it lowers the marketability of that plot.

"The environmental corridor only needs to be delineated by the scientifically determined limit,” Schellin said. “Not an overly conservative boundary that could limit our use if the Meijer project doesn’t succeed.”

Village Administrator Jeffrey Smith said the land uses can always be amended, and that option would be on the table should the Meijer project fall through. However, Schellin said it’s always more difficult to revise something once it’s changed – especially when it comes to reducing land designated for environmental uses.

“You end up looking like the bad guy when you go to change the land use,” Schellin said.

The village’s changes to its land use map drew roughly 100 residents to a pair of public hearings earlier this month. Some of the concerns involved the proposed store being open 24 hours a day, traffic congestion, and the size of the building.

Another public hearing is scheduled for December 20 with the intention to field more concerns and suggestions from the public.

“It’s like someone coming in and saying you have three bathrooms in the house with five kids, but you can only use one of them. It adds a little stress to the situation,” said Steven’s brother, Edwin Schellin. “It adds a risk that we don’t think we should bear the burden of right now.”

SaB December 13, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I'm seeing a lot of opposition to putting a big-box eye-sore at that location; is the board, etc. listening to the residents of Sussex?? I've heard rumors that Shopko may be selling out. (I would not be surprised). Why couldn't Meijer buy that building and expand on it per the new zoning? That way we keep the quiet/rural look down at HY-K and free flowing traffic. But then, again; I agree that Meijer may not be the right store for Sussex anyways. For groceries alone; I know my wife would like to see a Sendiks move in. 22 years ago; we wanted to get away from the city and into the rural setting without all the commercial eyesores. Sussex was defined as such a rural place at that time; so we moved in. At that time the village board and trustees, etc. were trying to keep Sussex as a quiet place. Bottom line; the Big Picture for Sussex was defined many years ago. Those who want more of these big-box stores should consider moving to Brookfield, Waukesha; all within driving distance.
Carl Engelking December 13, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Well from my discussion with Village President Greg Goetz, he and the board support the Meijer project completely. Goetz, speaking for himself, believed they will be a great business partner for the community. (Me speaking) one the the stories I hear so commonly is that people move to an area for the peace and quiet. However, development seems inevitable as this area is now becoming part of a major metropolitan expansion. (Some people envision an entire Milwaukee-Chicago megapolis). I feel for the homeowners who suddenly find their property is on the cusp of major developments.
CF December 13, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Wow! I feel that those who want country should move there! If you are living off of a busy highway that connects with I-94, expect development. I am thrilled to finally hear of more development coming to Sussex. I feel like I've been WAITING for it. We moved here 8 years ago because we heard Sussex was an "up and coming" place to live. I will enthusiastically support Meijer coming to Sussex. In addition to a great tax base for the Village, it will provide jobs! It will also be nice to not have to drive 15 min. away to find a 24/hour pharmacy. I can't wait to see what else is built along Hwy 164 in the future. A great school district, a community recognized as being the best place in WI to raise a family, and more affordable housing will continue to bring more residents to Sussex. Along with a growing population, commercial development is bound to follow. I suggest you remain open-minded about change and the future of this village. I think many of the younger residents want to see Sussex grow.
Carl Engelking December 13, 2012 at 07:03 PM
CF that's another great point I forgot to mention. There's a significant boost in the tax revenue for the village as a result of this project. I think some 150-200 jobs are expected to come as well.
CF December 13, 2012 at 07:31 PM
The PR woman from Meijer came to the door yesterday and I believe she said 250. How can you say no to that in this economy? They want Sussex, Sussex should want them. They have an impressive website, there is something for everyone at the store. I bet the opponents will shop at Meijer and probably forgot why they complained about it coming in just a few years.
Southwest Sussex December 14, 2012 at 01:22 AM
I agree with SaB on the point that this should be built on 164 by Kohl's and Shopko. Keep the retail together. 24/7 operation is not needed. As for the board not listening to the people, I personally think this is a done deal. These board members want this to be their legacy. Always investigate who you are voting for BEFORE you vote!!
Resident December 14, 2012 at 03:47 AM
CF -- sorry to inform you but the pharmacies are NOT open 24 hours but have the same hours of Walgreens right in Sussex. And if you are in need of a pharmacy after 10 pm or before 8 am, you are likely at the hospital or urgent care where you can get whatever urgent prescription you need.
CF December 14, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Resident...OR you are a parent with a young child who gets ill in the middle of the night. 24 hour businesses are a luxury to many people who work various shifts or for those who are parents who need to do things after kids are in bed.
Nancy K December 21, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Of course it's a done deal. They are just going through the motions of "listening" to the residents before they go ahead and sign on with Meijers. CF, why should I "move to the country" when I've been here for 23 years? Just to accommodate newcomers like you who can't/won't drive 15 minutes to shop?
Lois Liebau-Templin January 28, 2013 at 10:54 PM
You can count on us not shopping at the Meijer Store. When we say we are against something, we are against it. It is no problems for us to travel the short distance to Capitol Drive, and 164, to do our shopping. We so not patronize any business just because it is close. We have more ambition than that. Why doesn't Sussex try to fill the empty stores that are just sitting there? There is a need for a larger variety of businesses in this area. Not add another store that is the same as those down the road.

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