Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Planning Troubles Still On Tap At Pabst Farms

You have to ask: Did anyone have a checklist out there in Oconomowoc when that city in Waukesha County approved the signature shopping mall planned - - and I use that term advisedly - - for Pabst Farms?

That's the 1,500 acres that was once cropland in Western Waukesha County that's morphing into a mixed-use site for a hospital, shopping areas, commercial properties, an elementary school, a YMCA and 1,200 units of upscale, single-family residences.

But as planned communities go, contradictions abound.

There was a flurry of publicity recently when it was discovered that the project's one-million square-foot, high-end shopping mall would require a major interstate highway interchange, lest shoppers be forced to wend their way to mall parking lots through local roads.

The interchange would cost $20 million, a tidy sum not included in state highway budgets; local officials piped up quickly to say their budgets didn't project that kind of spending.

In April, a different planning glitch had surfaced about the mall's future - - and that misstep has also been confirmed:

Oconomowoc doesn't have enough liquor licenses for about a dozen restaurants and bars set to become mall tenants.

Now there's a planning problem!

The wheels are already spinning to change some transportation budget schedules and get the Pabst Farms shopping mall the interchange that someone forgot to pencil in.

And if you think legislators dance to the tune of the road-builders, wait until you see how fast they jitterbug across the Capitol with their lobbying partners to get that liquor license shortfall fixed.

Developers and politicians in exurbia bristle at the term "sprawl." They say the term suggests development that's without a big picture in mind, that overlooks details and consequences.

It's hard to disassociate "sprawl" from Pabst Farms the more we hear about the planning flubs surrounding its so-called commercial centerpiece - - its Town Centre regional shopping mall.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Great boozing at the Mall along the highway!