The City Plan Commission recommended the approval of a site plan for a new Kwik Trip store on Waupaca’s west side.
However, the recommendation includes a caveat that the building must meet city ordinance requirements regarding retail beer sales and roof heights.
Under current ordinances, the store must have separate entrances for the space where it sells alcohol and its other retail business. The areas must be totally separated.
Kwik Trip is asking that the ordinance be amended so that a clerk can move from the convenience store area to the alcohol sales area without going outside. An opening in the wall, behind the counter, would allow clerks to move from one area to the other, but customers would still need to use separate doors into each area.
A city zoning code also restricts the height of new stores in the commercial district where Kwik Trip plans to open to 20 feet. Kwik Trip wants its store to be 23 feet tall so that the roof encloses its mechanical equipment.
In order to permit Kwik Trip’s new store plans, the city must amend two ordinances.
The commission met Wednesday, Feb. 9, to approve Kwik Trip’s site plan.
Tom Baron, a planner with East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning, is working with the city on development projects. He told members of the commission that the proposed store would be located on a 6.6-acre parcel on the southwest corner of State Highway 54 and County Road QQ intersection.
The proposed store would be about 9,700 square feet with about 60 parking spaces. It would be red and tan brick with red stucco and a green metal roof.
The lot currently has a driveway leading to County QQ. Under the existing site plan, another driveway for access to State 54 would be through the parking lot of JR’s Sportman’s Bar.
Public Works Director John Edlebeck said Kwik Trip will need to get approval from the state and county regarding its driveways. County Post that he favors changing the ordinance to allow clerks to stay inside the building when working with customers on both sides of his building.
Mayor Brian Smith said he was concerned that the commission was putting the cart before the horse in recommending approval of a site plan that failed to meet existing codes.
“We need to find out if the council is OK with changing this,” Smith said, regarding the code that requires separate entrances between regular retail and alcohol retail areas in a store.
Commission member Terry Martin said the commission’s recommendation would be for a site plan that conforms to whatever the city’s code is at the time the store is built. If the council changes the ordinance, then Kwik Trip could build according to its current plan. If the ordinance is not amended, then Kwik Trip would have to build according to the existing code.
Commission member Pat Phair asked if the commission should table the site plan until after the city’s Judiciary Committee and Common Council discusses the proposed ordinance changes.
Hans Zietlow, Kwik Trip’s director of real estate, said the company would prefer the commission make a recommendation with contingencies. He said Kwik Trip was willing to comply with the current ordinance.
He said Kwik Trip would need to hire an extra employee to work in a separate beer and wine store, and that it may have to be a discount liquor store in order to generate enough revenues for the extra employees.
He also said making the roof only 20 feet tall would actually cost Kwik Trip substantially less, but would look less attractive because the mechanical equipment would be exposed.
“The sooner we know what we have to do, the easier it is to set up,” Zietlow said.
Commission member Dave Shambeau said he wanted to hear from some of the convenience store owners who were in the audience at the meeting. He noted that the city had made many of them “jump through hoops” in order to sell beer and wine to their customers.
Paul Singh, the owner of Waupaca BP and Beer Barrel Liquor, has separate entrances for his adjacent stores on West Fulton Street. He asked if other store owners would be allowed to make changes to their building design if the ordinance was amended to accommodate Kwik Trip’s plan.
Smith said if the city amends the ordinance, then it would apply to everyone.
After the meeting, Singh told the