Opponents of a plan to build a 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse applauded the Lawrence Planning & Zoning Committee’s vote Wednesday to deny a request to rezone the proposed site.
The committee voted 3-2 to deny the request from Scannell Development and Georgia-Pacific Corp. after about an hour of discussion during a virtual meeting watched by about 150 people. Many attendees displayed “Vote No” signs and flyers on their video screens during the meeting.
The request still will go to the Lawrence Town Board for a public hearing and final consideration of the request.
Residents say Georgia-Pacific’s preferred site, 90 acres of farmland between Mid Valley Drive and Williams Grant Drive, is less than a mile from their homes in a subdivision started 20 years ago. They say the warehouse’s size, semitrailer activity, noise and light make in incompatible with the neighborhood.
Scannell and Georgia-Pacific like the site because it’s available to purchase, close to Interstate 41 and would allow it to consolidate its five existing Green Bay-area warehouses into one building.
“It’s suitable as light industrial because of infrastructure with the interstate and proximity of utilities that have been brought into the area,” Dan Salzer, of Scannell Development, said. “It puts the property in a unique position where it’s development-ready.”
Residents have been concerned about the proposal since the application was first submitted to the town June 30.
In late August, Georgia-Pacific amended the plans in response to residents’ input. The changes include:
- Flipping the building plan to move the site entrance off Williams Grant Drive and onto Mid Valley Drive, effectively removing semitrailer traffic from the neighborhood.
- Setting aside the 10 acres on the property’s west side, near the residential neighborhood, for farmland preservation.
- Adding an earthen berm and trees to the west edge of the building site to block residents’ view of the warehouse.
The changes did not appear to sway opponents of the proposal who watched the meeting, nor the three members of the committee who voted against the request: Tonya Wagner, Larry Boldt and Skip Lee.
Wagner said she visited a similar, massive warehouse on Green Bay’s east side and came away with the impression such a facility would be more appropriate in an industrial park rather than in the more rural area west of I-41.
“We’re looking at something that’s very, very large. To me … this is industrial. There’s a lot of trucks,” Wagner said. “The houses half a mile away have been there a very long time. I don’t know if it’s right to put something like that (warehouse) right there.”
Lanny Tibaldo, the Town Board chairman, and Mike Van Dehei cast the two votes in support of the rezoning. Tibaldo noted Scannell and Georgia-Pacific made changes to address residents’ concerns.
“I do feel they addressed … the big things that people kept bringing up,” Tibaldo said.
Mike Kawleski, spokesperson for Georgia-Pacific, said the company would have preferred a different outcome from Wednesday’s meeting but that it will continue to try to address residents’ concerns ahead of the Town Board’s consideration of the request.
“The new design submitted would leave the 10 acres to the west agricultural. It also has earthen berms and trees to block the view of the building from (Williams Grant Drive) and I-41,” Kawleski said. “The concerns we heard, we tried to address those. We will see what the Town Board has to say when it meets.”