Meijer construction expected in the fall
Wetland issues will not delay retail store
Village of Sussex — The Grand Rapids Michigan based Meijer Company is apparently planning to begin construction in fall on its nearly 200,000-square-foot grocery and household goods retail center on the southeast corner of Highway 164 and Lisbon Road (Highway K), according to Village Administrator Jeremy Smith.
Smith said he met with company representatives about two weeks ago and they indicated to him they plan to begin excavation work on the site of the main store of the center in September or October. A spokesperson for the company would not confirm that information.
However, it appears that construction on an adjacent gas station and convenience store is going to be delayed because of wetlands permitting issues. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have instructed Meijer Company to identify and designate some additional wetlands located near the site of the gas station and convenience store.
The company cannot receive needed permits from the state and federal government for the gas station and convenience store until the report is completed, according to state and federal officials.
However, work can proceed on the grocery and retail store because it is separated from the gasoline station and convenience store by Executive Drive, which will be extended south of Highway K as part of the project, according to Smith.
Nearby residents of the Town of Lisbon who opposed the project have failed in efforts to block approval and construction of the retail center.
The village issued its permits following a more than six month long review process that included seven hours of public hearings where the opponents expressed concerns about the store's 24-hour operation and the potential storm water control issues, noise and light pollution, and increased traffic that would result from construction of the retail center.
Proponents of the project pointed out the retail center would provide nearly 250 jobs. Village officials and some downtown business leaders expressed confidence that the store would not provide competition to the small, locally owned downtown businesses who have established their own niches in the local retail and service market.
The opponents filed a law suit in Waukesha County Circuit Court claiming the village's approval of the project constituted illegal "spot zoning" was contrary to the village's comprehensive land use plan and violated a border agreement between the Village of Sussex and the Town of Lisbon.
The court ruled that the neighbors did not have the necessary authority to file the lawsuit because they were not directly affected by the project.
The approval process for the Sussex retail center has been relatively smooth compared to some other locations despite the legal and political maneuvers to block it as well as the wetland issues. The company withdrew plans for a store in Franklin because of community opposition, and so far, has failed with the support of the Waukesha Common Council in seeking initial approval of a map for a site in the city.
Meijer is the 13th largest privately held company in the United States, according to Forbes Magazine. It owns more than 200 stores primarily located in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.
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