Port council OKs permit to pave way for Casey’s

Approval for Grand Avenue gas station, convenience store is contingent on median cut, new turn lane
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington Common Council last week paved the way for Casey’s General Store to be built at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Highway LL on the city’s west side.

Aldermen voted 6-1, with Ald. Mike Gasper dissenting, to approve a conditional use permit for the gas station and convenience store contingent on the Department of Transportation allowing the existing median cut to remain with the addition of a left-turn lane on eastbound Grand Avenue.

Casey’s wanted a commitment from the city that a conditional use permit for the store would be issued before going through the expense of a traffic impact study that the DOT is requiring, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said Aug. 21.

That study would presumably support the need for the continued median cut and a left-turn lane on eastbound Grand Avenue — aka Highway 33 — he said. Casey’s would provide that study to the state and, if the DOT agrees with its findings, would then sell access rights to Ozaukee County, which is selling the land to Casey’s.

The process is expected to take three to five months, Vanden Noven said.

Ald. Jonathan Pleitner said the left-turn lane is key to his support of the project. Neighbors were concerned that eastbound traffic on Grand Avenue would back up at the intersection, which is in an area where sightlines coming out of the Hidden Hills subdivision are compromised.

In approving the conditional use permit, the council also approved the site plan for the building, something Ald. John Sigwart noted.

“If there are objections to the site plan, it should go back to the Plan Commission,” Sigwart said, noting that Gasper previously expressed concern about the fact that the gas pumps would be in front of the building.

Gasper, who previously also expressed concerns about a long driveway leading from the gas station to Highway LL — something he referred to as a frontage road — asked whether the state would allow access to Highway LL closer to Grand Avenue, eliminating the need for such a long driveway.

That’s not something the state would approve, said Lauren Downing, project manager with ARC Design Resources, which is designing the store for Casey’s.

Gasper also continued to question whether the gas station and convenience store is the right development for the site.

“This does not give us a value density commensurate with the neighborhood,” he said. “We could do far better at this site.”

Kendra Meyer, a real estate and store development associate for Casey’s, said the company is investing $4.3 million in the site.

The company also plans to sell the northern three acres of the site for additional development, presumably commercial or residential development, Meyer said, increasing the value of the property significantly.

Casey’s has proposed constructing a roughly 4,286-square-foot red brick building with a hip roof. The building would have stone pillars in front and a car wash in back. Six gas pumps with a total of 12 filling stations would be in front of the building.

If the deal is approved, the Port Washington store would be the second Casey’s General Store in the area. The gas stations and convenience stores chain received permission from the Village of Fredonia to build a general store at the corner of Highland and Martin drives earlier this year. 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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