NEW BERLIN — Common council approval is expected of a combined proposal to build a PDQ gas station/convenience store and to provide a permanent home for the New Berlin Farmers Market in the city center.
The plan sailed through the plan commission last week, virtually without comment.
A PDQ is to be built on the southeast corner of National Avenue and Michelle Witmer Drive at an entrance to the New Berlin City Center. Planners say there would be enough land left to the east along National Avenue to make into a permanent home for the farmers market.
City and market officials have long wanted the farmers market to be in the city center. Currently, it sets up every Saturday morning in season in the New Berlin Police Station parking lot.
Joe Sanfelippo, state representative and New Berlin resident, and his family have offered to build a shelter for the farmers market . The shelter would be shared with a Sanfelippo family business of selling Christmas trees and seasonal garden-related products. The Sanfelippo family owns the land 15055 W. National Ave. and would let the market use it for free.
Sanfellippo's plan also involves donating the southern section of land to the city. The eastern portion could be used for farmers market overflow parking, said Mayor Dave Ament. The city is eyeing the western portion for a plaza of trees, a walkway and benches, he said.
The only portions of the plan still needing council approval are the donation of land to the city and being allowed to split the land off to make that donation happen. The council could vote on those final aspects as early as April 25.
In contrast to last week's unanimous plan commission approval, a number of people spoke at the March 30 public hearing on the proposed PDQ.
One of them is Rich Hawthorne who lives directly across National Avenue from where the PDQ is proposed and who was not pleased with the commission's decision.
'I'm disappointed they allowed the PDQ to be a 24-hour business," he said after the meeting. "No consideration was taken for our views and our property values will be impacted."
He and others who objected said they didn't want a gas station with all its commotion so near their homes, and especially not all night long.
Ament said the area is zoned commercial and that a fitness center already operates 24-hours in the city center that extends roughly to Moorland Road. A George Webb Restaurant also operates 24 hours in the portion of the city center that is across National Avenue.
However, to help neighbors live with the PDQ, the developer plans to contact them to ask if they need additional screening, Ament said.
Thus far, the developer has been more than helpful as plans and needs have evolved, he said.
Worries also were expressed as to whether enough parking would be available for the market and that overflow parking would be across a future interior road separating the overflow parking from the market. That could be a safety hazard, some said.
Ament said the market will have at least as much parking as it does now and that the entire city center is meant to be walkable.