Saturday, January 12, 2008

Blogs and Media Following Pabst Farms 'Modifications'

Pabst Farms 'planning' is a great example of what can happen when a new city is plopped down on a farm field, and the Sprawled Out blog has followed similar matters in Franklin, so I begin with that.

It's a good blog. I'm glad to plug it, so check it out.

Back to Pabst Farms, where the upscale mall is getting bigger, but not necessarily better.

And as The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Amy Rinard notes, the redesigned mall site at the northern convergence of Highway 67 and I-94 in Western Waukesha County has a new developer who has added a string of big-box stores backing up to what could become the entry way to the City of Oconomowoc - - welcoming motorists to Lake Country with a panorama of store backs, parking and Dumpsters.

That ain't New Urbanism. It's more like Old Urbanwasism, where everything serving the car separated retail and pedestrians from the street, and the visual environment got trashed.

It's a dead model, but that's what the mall planners say their client stores want, and have told Oconomowoc officials they know more about retail needs than does the city.

Strange strategy, since Oconomowoc put $24 million in public tax dollars into Pabst Farms to citify the rural land, and still has mall design and construction approvals, and another cash payment to make on the interchange plan to make it go forward.

Speaking of the interchange, state and local governments in Waukesha County are hell-bent to begin work on that fast-tracked, $25 million I-94 interchange to the site, even as the design is changing and getting iffier by the minute.

Here's another good account of the issues from the Daily Reporter.

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