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Mequon residents support residential development, oppose big name retailers

City-wide survey boasts strong response rate

July 30, 2013

Mequon — A recent city-wide survey found that residents generally support residential development and oppose big-name retailers like Target, Home Depot and Kohl's coming into the city.

Almost 4,000 residents filled out surveys since mid-April, a 45 percent response rate among almost 8,700 Mequon households — an exceptional turnout, said survey facilitators from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Urban Initiatives and Research. UWM researchers presented the findings of the survey to the Common Council last week.

In the wake of recent elections centering around the crucial question of if and how much development should occur in the city, the Common Council commissioned the survey to both poll residents and guide upcoming decisions when it comes to development issues throughout the city.

"It gives us a reference," Mayor Dan Abendroth said. "We agreed that as we proceed with the development initiatives, that we would use the results of the survey as one of the tools as we go forward."

Residential development favored

Survey respondents supported single-family housing development in each of the three areas the city has targeted for potential growth.

The east growth area runs along Port Washington Road, north of Highland Road; the central growth area consists of undeveloped land south of Mequon Road, north of Donges Bay Road and west of Wauwatosa Road; and the west growth area is south of Mequon Road, west of Granville Road and north of County Line Road.

Respondents were split on multi-family housing developments in the east growth area and along the Port Washington Road commercial corridor, with approximately 40 percent for and against such developments in either area.

Picky shoppers

While a majority of residents said Mequon businesses can't meet their shopping needs, a clear majority opposed big-name retailers like Target, Kohl's and Home Depot. About 55 percent opposed the idea of such retailers moving into Mequon, while about 26 percent supported it.

Rather, respondents indicated that they would like community retailers like Les Moise, Metro Market or Sendik's. About 76 percent supported those sorts of retailers while about 6 percent opposed them.

Residents also opposed additional drive-thru restaurants in the city, with 54 percent of respondents in opposition and about 16 percent in favor. Abendroth noted, however, that the city won't "turn down every restaurant" that wants a drive-thru.

Instead, said Abendroth, city officials will likely need to control the placement of prospective drive-thrus in an effort to minimize noise and disturbance to neighbors.

Interchange needs study

Residents also gave mixed feedback on a potential Interstate 43 interchange at Highland Road, which would be part of an impending state Department of Transportation I-43 reconstruction project tentatively slated for 2020. The city's half of the interchange cost is estimated at $7.5 million, which would cost the average Mequon homeowner an estimated $1,000 over a 20-year period.

A majority of residents — 60 percent — supported an interchange. Yet, when asked whether they would still support it given the costs, residents were split, with 50.6 percent in opposition and 49.4 percent in support of an interchange.

Abendroth said the city is waiting on traffic analysis from the DOT before making any decisions on the interchange. That analysis, he said, will help the city determine which nearby communities are contributing to traffic on Highland Road, which will lay the foundation for the city to negotiate cost sharing with those communities.

"If there's going to be contribution to the cost, it should be relative to where the traffic's actually coming from," Abendroth said. "We want to see how much of the traffic is really ours."

BY THE NUMBERS

57.2 percent / 19.2 percent

Percentage for/against single-family residential development in east growth area

60.4 percent / 16.3 percent

Percentage for/against single-family residential development in central growth area

59.8 percent / 16.3 percent

Percentage for/against single-family residential development in central growth area

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