RIVER FALLS -- While housing developments north of town and multiple school and park renovations are underway in River Falls, City Council addressed a first reading for an ordinance amendment that would support a third Kwik Trip southeast of town.
The proposal, if the second reading passes, would rezone a 3.53-acre lot at Highways 35 and 65 from Multiple Family High Density to Highway Commercial.
No discussion commenced nor were questions asked by council members at the Aug. 27 meeting when the first reading was held. A notice for the rezoning proposal was mailed July 16 to property owners within 300 feet of the parcel, but no public comments had been received as of Aug. 27.
A second reading and an official vote will take place Sept. 10 at the River Falls City Hall during the council meeting.
Kwik Trip Inc. entered into a purchase agreement with property owners Doug Cudd and Jerry Morrow who applied for the rezoning, according to the initial proposal written by River Falls City Planner Sam Wessel.
The agreement is contingent on the approval of the rezoning request for the site located at 1520-1570 Cemetery Road.
River Falls resident Ben Fochs spoke during public comment in favor of another convenience store but advised against the particular location.
"This site is probably not the best point for a convenience store. It is very inaccessible and highly trafficked,” Fochs said. He lived on Wildcat Court east of town in the past.
“Before any rezoning, I think there should be more looked into the traffic and accessibility into the site before the final things because it's in-between two roundabouts with not a lot of access there already so you'll easily get backed up on 65. Having a convenience store on the east side would be great, but I don't think this site is well-suited,” Fochs added.
The initial proposal outlines the significant convenience of the store’s location, which would serve both nearby residents and highway commuters.
If the rezoning were approved but the Kwik Trip agreement fell through, the site would remain a Highway Commercial zone as it is “desirable for other commercial uses” along the highway, the proposal reads.
Development construction updates
River Falls is growing as housing developments hurdle forward in construction alongside school and park renovations.
At a joint River Falls City Council-River Falls School Board meeting Aug. 12, River Falls Development Services Director Amy Peterson updated the School Board on various housing development projects throughout north of the city.
“The housing development side of things is moving in River Falls whether its single family lots or multi-family,” Peterson said.
New housing since July 2018 includes 72 single-family lots and 148 multifamily units, some which are under review.
Sterling Ponds first addition located at Newcastle Drive and Glasgow Street with 37 single-family lots.
The Aberdeen located at 3400s Newcastle Drive with 60 market-rate apartments.
The Depot/ City Station located at 308 Cedar St./ 315 River St. with 50 senior/ 24 market-rate apartments.
Campusview Birchcrest located at 580-588-596 Birchcrest Dr. with 12-unit and 2-unit multifamily student housing.
Highview Meadows fifth addition is under review, located at Reynolds Street and Vista Circle with 35 single-family lots.
Other developments include:
River Falls Food Pantry new location being built at 705 St. Croix St. to be open in October 2019.
Glen Park $4 million renovations and additions including a new pavilion, parking, paths and a splash pad located at West Park Street with construction expected to be complete in winter 2019.
Anchor Paper located at 2552 Prairie Dr., an 88,000-square foot manufacturing facility with 20 projected new jobs.
Peterson said River Falls should expect to see more housing on the horizon as conversations with developers are underway.