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New Berlin residents fighting proposed driveway that would funnel unwelcome traffic from Starbucks

May 23, 2014

New Berlin — Some residents of a subdivision west of Moorland Road are fighting a proposal to rezone two homes from residential to commercial and replace them with a retail building.

The proposal is just north of the Starbucks at Moorland Road and National Avenue.

The plan would put a driveway onto Churchview Drive that runs north of the two homes and connects with Moorland Road. The driveway would serve cars from the proposed commercial building and from Starbucks and possibly other businesses at the corner.

Residents say drivers coming out at Churchview and wanting to go north would go through their neighborhood because it's too hard to make a left turn onto northbound Moorland Road. Instead, drivers would make their way to Coffee Road where there is a traffic light, they said.

The story would be similar for westbound traffic, they say. It's often hard to turn right onto Moorland to get into a position to make another right onto westbound National Avenue. Instead, drivers would again head into their subdivision and filter west to National Avenue that way.

Currently, the two homes block both those northbound and westbound maneuvres and keep Moorland Road commercial traffic out of the subdivision.

"The thought of commercial traffic exiting into our subdivision is beyond my wildest dreams," said John Messler of Churchview Drive. "Is this the future of New Berlin? You've got to be kidding me. Don't do this."

Some residents also object that they moved in with homes next to their properties, and now they could have businesses in their backyards.

"How am I going to resell my house with commercial next to me?" asked Mike Murphy, 3600 block of South 157th Street, right behind the proposed new building. He said he anticipates dealing with rude people and garbage in his backyard.

Not only that, a drive-thru is proposed for Starbucks that some say they will be annoying.

Jeanne Rountree, 3700 block of South 157th Street, said she isn't looking forward to, "Welcome to Starbucks, can I take your order?"

That needs to be away from homes, she said.

"This is too much," Rountree said.

A 15-foot landscaped buffer is proposed to screen the commercial area and help deflect noise. But one resident said that wouldn't be enough. He can hear people now talking outside of Starbucks at its outdoor tables.

City officials would like to separate the submitted plan from the rezoning request, leaving such aspects as traffic impacts and driveways to the Plan Commission. However, if the commission decides a driveway onto Churchview Drive would harm the subdivision, all access would then go to one existing driveway onto Moorland Road.

The Plan Commission intends to consider the proposed rezoning Monday, June 2.

The developer has offered a traffic study that concludes there would not be much traffic impact from the Churchview Driveway or from the 4,800 square-foot retail building.

But residents say traffic backups on Moorland are bad now, and they don't want more stores to make it worse. During rush hours, it's almost impossible to drive into the subdivision "because there's so much traffic backed up," Messler said.

NEXT STEP

WHAT: New Berlin Plan Commission consideration of proposed rezoning of two homes north of Starbucks from residential to commercial

WHEN: 6 p.m. June 2

WHERE: New Berlin City Hall, 3805 S. Casper Drive

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