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Woman's quiet New Berlin home could be surrounded by Walmart

Proposed Supercenter's plans have driveway wrapping around two houses

Dec. 18, 2012

New Berlin - The conceptual site plan for a Walmart Supercenter in New Berlin shows the parking lot almost surrounding two homes along Greenfield Avenue.

The store's driveway would be in the wide wooded space between the two homes and the parking lot would be behind the homes, wrapping around the side of the more westerly house.

That westerly home is owned by the Highland Memorial Park Cemetery and rented out. The home to the east is a 1956 ranch that Bernice Berth has lived in since 1961.

See a .PDF map of the proposed development here from New Berlin's official site.  The house in question is labeled R-5 and is to the right of a cemetery-owned structure which is also marked R-5.

She doesn't want Walmart to take away the woods behind her home where a pair of great-horned owls live along with deer and other wild creatures that venture into her yard. And she doesn't want a lot of people coming and going.

"I love the privacy," she said of her home.

That privacy was rocked enough when Pick 'n Save and other stores were built across Greenfield Avenue, Berth said.

"That was an adjustment, but at least it was on the other side of the road," she said.

The shopping area took the place of a cornfield where horses and pheasants roamed, she said.

Walmart offered her $100,000 more than the $181,700 her home is assessed at, she said. But she turned the offer down because of her fierce love of the home that she shared with her late husband for so many years, she said.

"A hundred thousand more wouldn't even touch what I feel the value of my property is," she said. She just wants her space and to be left alone in it, she said. With the cemetery on the east, she said her home feels quite away from it all.

She could move, Berth joked, "But I would not have neighbors as quiet as mine are."

The cemetery that owns the other home is reviewing the Walmart plans, said spokesman James Barry, president of Cassidy Turley Barry real estate. His firm is handling the sale of 34 acres of vacant cemetery land along Moorland Road and beside the proposed Walmart site. He did not disclose whether Walmart offered to buy the cemetery's home that was built in 1900, which is assessed at $142,300.

To reduce the impact on those living in the two homes, Walmart's plan of operations states it will provide significant buffers around them, even though both will likely be developed as commercial properties.

Indeed, commercial development could happen for those two homes, said Greg Kessler, director of community development.

They could become outlots of the Walmart property where free-standing businesses could be built and share the Walmart parking lot, he said. That, however, would put more pressure on the proposed Walmart lot that already is too small, according to the city code.

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