NEW BERLIN — With people having spoken both for and against a proposed PDQ gas station/convenience store in the New Berlin City Center, the project is slated for a New Berlin Plan Commission vote on April 13.
The commission also will consider new home for the New Berlin Farmers Market - east of the planned PDQ,15055 W. National Ave.
At Thursday's public hearing, speakers against the PDQ tended to focus on not wanting a gas station so close to where they live, about the hubbub of a 24-hour gas station operation and about fumes. A number of apartments are near the site, along with homes across National Avenue and fairly nearby east of the potential development.
Those with back yards on National Avenue also were concerned that the station could be open 24 hrs. a day. They were concerned about noise, lights and additional traffic on National Avenue making it even more difficult and possibly dangerous to turn left from Acredale Road to go east on National Avenue.
Speakers in favor tended to focus on the convenience of a grocery store with a deli and other items, especially within walking distance of a large population area, the aesthetic of the convenience store building, the clock tower giving the city center an identity, having the farmers market move to the city center, especially that the land owner will build the covered structure for the market and the fact that when not being used for the farmers market it will have other retail uses.
All the speakers seemed to like that the land owner, State Representative Joe Sanfellipo (R-New Berlin) was going to donate a large portion of this parcel to the city for use as an attractive pedestrian friendly area with trees and a plaza.
However, Mayor Dave Ament said after the meeting of the concerns neighbors raised: "If my back yard was across the street I would have the same concerns."
He too had questions.
"When I first saw the proposal, I had a number of concerns that if they could not be resolved I would not be able to support it," he said. Those included the lighting and how a conventional filling station would look at one of the main entrances to the city center, he said.
"I think we all remember how unattractive and junky the old filling station on the north east corner of National and Moorland was and how much nicer the new Starbucks is," he said.
However, that objection has, in his view, been overcome: "The new structure for the convenience store and clock tower will look great on this corner, hides the gas fueling area from view on National Avenue. and it will give this area of the city center a distinctive identity."
Ament paid tribute to the land owner for being responsive to the city's concerns. He was optimistic that the remaining concerns, including the possibility of screening for those across National Avenue, can be worked out.
If that happens, the development would be a plus for the city, he said.
"This development will bring what this section of the city center has been lacking since it first started developing about 20 years ago," Ament said.
Alderman Joe Stribl who sits on the plan commission said in his view the positives outweigh the negatives.
"It's a good design, it will promote traffic and activity and that's good," he said after the meeting. "It's employee-owned, they are good neighbors and this is one of the most expensive stores they are building because of the aesthetics, the setbacks and building materials. It would be good for New Berlin."
Stribl also said he liked the plaza that would be located behind the station on Library Lane. The plaza at Michelle Witmer Drive and Library Lane could be used for public gatherings, he said.
According to the plan, the PDQ convenience store would feature a deli with made-to-order sandwiches, rotisserie chicken, beer and wine, an on-site bakery and coffee.
The proposed farmers market shelter could also be used for seasonal sales of sod, flowers, garden plants, pumpkins and Christmas trees, according to the plan.