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Neighbors unwelcoming to proposed Taco Bell

Residents concerned with odor, noise from fast food restaurant

March 8, 2011

Mequon — Residents living nearby don't want a Taco Bell in their neighborhood, but they will have one unless the Common Council decides to override a Plan Commission decision.

Concord Development is proposing a 12,000-square-foot multi-tenant building at 11501 and 11511 N. Port Washington Road, just to the north of an existing office building developed by the company.

Andrew Petzold, president of Concord, said Taco Bell would occupy about 1,900 square feet and is essential to the development. Other tenants will be a combination of retail and professional services, Petzold said, but without Taco Bell, he would not continue with plans for the building.

More than 60 residents of neighboring condominium associations and subdivisions turned out to voice their opinions on having Taco Bell as a neighbor. No one spoke in favor of the fast food restaurant, but many raised their voices to complain about odors, noise from the proposed drive-through window, and lights.

Doesn't fit city's vision

Norbert Laskowski, whose property at 1342 Homestead Trail abuts the proposed site, said the drive-through will be 30 feet from his deck.

"The majority don't want this in their neighborhood," he said.

Sam Cutler, a former city alderman who now lives in Thiensville, but whose father lives in neighboring Eastbrook Estates, pointed out the city's 2004 Visioning Report indicated the city has enough fast food restaurants.

Petzold introduced Greg Bultman, a city resident, who would own the Taco Bell. Bultman said other residents in the city have said it would be nice to have a Taco Bell for quick meals after soccer or baseball games. He owns 30 Taco Bells, 11 of them in Wisconsin.

In the end, the Plan Commission found that conditions created to answer residents' objections would eliminate light spill over. A berm on the west side of the property would reduce light and noise; garbage pick up would be done three times a week to reduce odors, and the hours for the restaurant would be 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Alderman plans appeal

Alderman Mark Seider, who represents the area, said in a phone interview Tuesday that he will appeal the Plan Commission decision to the Common Council.

Seider, who was unable to attend the Plan Commission meeting, lives two houses west of the proposal. He spoke with several constituents Tuesday, he said. He believes the council needs to make a policy decision regarding fast food restaurants.

"This is something I need to do," Seider said. "The people at Common Council look at things a little differently. This is precedent breaking. There has never been a fast food restaurant put next to a residential area."

Mayor Curt Gielow said the council will take up the issue at its meeting April 12.

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