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Contentious Rezoning Proposal for Garden Room Parking Comes to A Head Tuesday

Officials with the village's Plan Commission will consider a proposal to rezone a Shorewood home to allow it to be razed for a parking lot.

Nearly two months after controversy erupted over a proposal to raze a Shorewood home to make way for a customer parking lot for Garden Room, the issue will come before village officials for consideration Tuesday night. 

Garden Room owner Deb Kern has purchased the house at 3940 N. Frederick Ave. and will ask the village's Plan Commission during a meeting 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday to approve her rezoning petition.

If the rezone request is granted, she will demolish the home and construct a nine-stall, environmentally-friendly parking lot with permeable pavement and a rain garden.

Kern has said she needs the additional parking to accommodate her increased customer base. And, with most of her customers coming from outside of the village, parking has become problematic, she said.

However, residents in the area are trying to derail the project, because they say razing the home will be one less residence for a new family, lower property values on the block and attract crime.

The group has been circulating literature, and online and paper petitions in an attempt to kill the project. Frederick Avenue resident Sue Witas says the group has already turned in petition signatures to village officials, though she declined to say how many, and will continue to gather more this weekend.

Witas added the group has been "communicating with supporters and neighbors about the upcoming meeting." The meeting has been moved to the Village Center, lower level of the library, in anticipation of a large audience.

The group feels very positive heading into Tuesday meeting.

"We have a lot of confidence in our village officials," Witas said. "They live in Shorewood and they are very connected with the people they serve. They know what Shorewood is all about."

Meanwhile, Kern has been circulating her own petition, gathering 137 signatures and the support of area businesses like City Market, Capitol Cleaners and Feerick Funeral Home, according to a PowerPoint presentation she will present during Tuesday's meeting.

Kern could not be reached for comment Thursday.

North Shore Newbie October 19, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I don't want them to raze the house, either, and would be willing to sign a petition stating such, but come on...let's not go overboard. Razing one house to make a parking lot is not going to "attract crime". People see Shorewood as a target anyway, but let's not resort to that emotional argument to prove our point. The fact is, there's no good reason to tear down a perfectly good house to put in a parking lot. That should be the focus.
CowDung October 19, 2012 at 06:35 PM
A good reason seems to be that it will encourage people from outside of Shorewood to come here and spend money to support our local merchants. Parking in Shorewood is challenging enough--putting in this lot will free up spaces on Capital drive.
Absolutelyfabulous October 19, 2012 at 07:20 PM
"We have a lot of confidence in our village officials," Witas said. "They live in Shorewood and they are very connected with the people they serve. They know what Shorewood is all about." Didn't the village already set precedent w/ granting Dan Katz permission to raze a nearby house to create more parking? "In 2006, Katz Properties sought approval to rezone the duplex at 3942 N. Frederick Ave. to construct a parking lot. The Plan Commission discussed the matter in two meetings and voted against approving the rezoning the property. But when the matter reached the Village Board, the rezoning was approved." If that is the case, haven't they already opened a can of worms as well as inviting potential litigation if they allow one person and deny another? BTW....If you think that the people who make the decisions are connected with the people they serve, then why did they shut you out on all decision making/financing/gifts bestowed upon Barry Mandel and his taxpayer subsidized project in Shorewood? Why has a $10,300,000 TIF been recommended be created for the redevelopment of the Pick N Save parcel? What's that all about and why does Roundy's, price gauging at it's best, need any type of financial assistance in very well to do Shorewood? Money and future business connections are what talks to your village officials. Though, I can't wait to see how this one turns out. Though, Dan Katz does have more leverage/fire power than Ms. Kern.
Cricket October 19, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I am not convinced that the Garden Room needs it. I am back and forth on Capitol Dr 3 to 4 times a day, all times of day and have made a point to look in front of the Garden Room to see how many spaces are available and there are always plenty. Considering the push the village made several years back to get families here to the point they were trying to get single homeowners to move to condos to free up houses, I am surprised that they would even consider this.
North Shore Newbie October 23, 2012 at 12:40 AM
"A good reason seems to be that it will encourage people from outside of Shorewood to come here and spend money to support our local merchants." In theory, yes...but I'm not convinced people AREN'T coming here because they find it difficult to park. Chattel Changers has only on-street parking, as does City Market and I've never once heard my friends even bring up the issue when deciding whether or not to visit those places.

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