The group was organized to gather a series of recommendations for the Redevelopment Authority of Racine, which owns the vacant lot. Despite being leaked a draft of the recommendations, we held off reporting them until a revised list could be put together. Now, we have the revised list - and it's very similar to the original list we saw last week.
That's not good news for Tom Tousis, the Racine businessman trying to build a bank, gas station, grocery store and sit-down restaurant on the site. At the same time, it's good news for opponents of the project.
The work group proposal labels the gas station an "unacceptable" use that is inconsistent with the West Racine plan. If approved by the Redevelopment Authority, the proposal may kill Tousis's $5 million development before it ever reaches the City Council. (The full list of recommendations is below.)
The revised draft of recommendations out to members of the work group Tuesday night. People on the list included: Aldermen Aron Wisneski, Terry McCarthy and Jim Spangenberg; Jeannie Creekmore, Frank Ricchio, Keith Deschler, Jim and Sally Neitzel, Larry Gregg, Nancy Smith, Robert and Jenny Gonazlez, Robin Wilson, Steve Torosian and Timothy Casey.
(The group includes all five members of the West Racine Business Improvement District, plus West Racine business owners and residents, and the real estate agent listing the site.)
A public meeting on the recommendations is scheduled for Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. in the Sanctuary of Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 3319 Washington Ave. The meeting will also be announced in West Racine with automated calls.
Here are the recommendations:
DRAFT REPLACEMENT TEXT
WEST RACINE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
PREFERRED USES [revised text]
Preferred uses: High quality commercial development featuring street level retail is the preferred land use for the redevelopment. Examples of preferred uses are:
· Full service grocery.
· Table-service restaurant.
· Multi-tenant retail building, featuring shops such as: hobby shop, book store, bank or other savings deposit institution, gelato/ice cream shop, bicycle shop, jewelry store, men’s and/or women’s clothing store, and other specialty retail, except as prohibited below. The separately listed required and permitted uses may also be combined within the building. The building may be a conventional multitenant building or a market pavilion that blends common areas and pedestrian areas with the retail space.
· Outdoor seating.
Permitted uses: The Authority may permit, on a case-by-case basis, uses that are consistent with the objectives of the West Racine plan and are compatible with and supporting of the preferred uses. Such uses would not be the exclusive use of the property. Examples of permitted uses are:
· Owner-occupied housing units.
· Senior (55+) rental housing.
· Fast food restaurant without drive-through.
Unacceptable uses: The Authority shall not permit uses that are inconsistent with West Racine plan even though the use may be permitted by the zoning code of the City of Racine. Such uses include but are not limited to:
· Car wash.
· Gas Station.
· Pawn shop.
· Rental housing – general population.
· Buildings four stories or taller.
· Convenience stores.
· Car sales.
· Fast food with drive through.
· Rent-to-own store.
As a part of the acquisition and demolition of the buildings formerly on the property, the Authority removed certain uses from the property. The Authority will record a deed restriction prohibiting such uses from returning to the property. These uses are:
· Check cashing, pay day loan, and similar stores.
· Resale and second-hand stores.
· Tobacco store.
· Tattoo parlor.
· Automobile repair garage.
PROVISION FOR FARMERS MARKET [new section]
All proposals must consider and explicitly address the continued operation of the farmers market that is currently on the property. The size of the market, location on the site or relocation to another site, and other changes may be considered. The developer is expected to work with the West Racine Business Association, which is the sponsor of the farmers market, regarding its future.