It's official. Whitefish Bay has received a Conditional Use Permit for the Famous Footwear/Talbot's site by "Aurora Advanced Healthcare," presumably to create a "Clinic" on that property.
In an email to interested parties, Village Manager Jim Grassman has written that "it is important to recognize that the ability of the Village to control the use of property that is already zoned commercial is limited to the review of additional standards that are set forth in the Zoning Code."
I think that means that the Zoning Code does not provide any element whereby the Plan Commission can deny it based on "Well, this really isn't what we'd like here."
There are a few elements that could provide wiggle room from the code: "That the establishment .. will not be detrimental to ... general welfare." or "That uses, values and enjoyment of other property in the neighborhood .. shall be in no foreseeable manner substantially impaired or diminished .. and is compatible with the use of adjacent properties and businesses."
Or maybe "That the establishment of the conditional use will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district."
One could argue that a Health Clinic, instead of something more beneficial to Silver Spring's redevelopment could "impede the normal and orderly development.." of surrounding businesses.
Anyhow, this will all go down on 7:00pm on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Village Hall during the Plan Commission hearing. Interested residents are able to appear to provide "formal input" into the decision.
From a personal perspective, I would say that the Plan Commission should do everything in its power to interpret the Code to the advantage of what's in the best interest for the re-development of Silver Spring, a district that's been riddled with business closures due mainly to a poor mix of retail businesses. An Aurora Health Clinic will not advance this important cause.
While the community talks about a variety of Silver Spring parcels that "could" be redeveloped, this spot is the ONLY one that's actually vacant and big enough to entertain property improvement that could substantially help our immediate need.
Furthermore, the Village Board should continue the process they started in October, and proceed with Eminent Domain on that property. It's a signature parcel and the village should control it to the optimal benefit of the district.
Ideas on how to stop this? Comment below! I know you're out there, reading this blog. Add to the conversation.