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October 31, 2007


Greg Kowalski

Nice photo of Ken Skowronski! Is he directing traffic while holding that ribbon? :)

A true multi-tasker!

And I'm glad to see Alderman Sohns with a big smile on his face. His district took a huge step up today with this Grand Opening.

Steve O


I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you in person this morning. I'm still waiting for the meeting over coffee.

I'm curious though... Just what did the Common Council do to slow the development for Mr. Dvorkian and Sendik's?


I was wearing my nametag!

Regarding "slowing the development" (or, rather, the attempt to do so; "ankle-biting" I called it back on June 11th): Some people go on mere recollection - but I still have audio tapes, including Mr. Dvorkian's fairly passionate speech addressing his perspective on that particular issue.

I may post the audio, along with some aldermanic comments that precipitated the speech, if I find time. The comments will sound mighty ironic from the perspective of today's victory laps.

Greg Kowalski


I thought it was spelled Devorkin...

Hence the name DEVO Properties.

Or are we just screwing up the name for the sake of having it rhyme with that Kevorkian guy in Michigan...

Steve O

I'm just trying to understand the playing field here. Slow development or encourage development... demand quality or accept what gets proposed.

This project (once permits were issued) was built in just a few months. So I'm wondering what we did to slow the development. I'll grant you that there was additional comments offered by the neighbors that we encouraged the plan commission to hear... is that your issue? But you've said that the city doesn't listen to the people...

I'm just trying to get to the real issue.

And my apologies to Greg Dvorkin for mis-spelling his name.


First of all, I make no value judgments as to whether certain nits in this case needed to be picked by Common Council. But picked they were, by SPECIFIC members of the Common Council, to an extent that I and other observers did NOT see at Mark Carstensen's Shoppes at Wyndham Village development.

Second, do not make the mistake of oversimplification. "Slow development or encourage development... demand quality or accept what gets proposed" does not begin to address the issues faced here in Franklin and in sprawling suburbs across the country. The "playing field" is, to say the least, very, very complex - - far beyond the rudimentary equation you ponder above. But I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.

I don't traffic in generalities, so those who disagree have ample opportunity to dissect my reasoning. One evening when you are truly at a loss for anything interesting to do, I invite you to read the "Special Topics" I have posted in a column off to the right side of this blog. Then you'll have seen the tip of the iceberg.

And, as a result, we'll have quite a discussion over coffee!

We are seeing the paradigm slowly shift when it comes to how communities view development. While ambivalence still reigns, an era of greater transparency is up around the bend. People will not have to look at Shoppes at Wyndham Village and say, "How did THIS happen?" I can tell them EXACTLY how it happened and show them the timeline, including the many instances where Carstensen proclaimed loudly and proudly (and without a hint of irony): "We have not made a single significant change to this site plan since it was originally proposed."

Kudos, by the way, on your principled vote against rezoning for the single family residence that will be built behind Target. A tough situation, but one that was created by Mark Carstensen in making promises to the landowners that he was in no position to keep.


I drove by the "other Sendik's" under construction today, and noticed that the exterior walls (at least the one that is up) is precast concrete. Maybe Greg Kowalski or "Steve-O" can clarify, but wasn't the Rawson Sendik's required to use brick instead of precast concrete walls? Why the difference in standards, Steve-O??

Greg Kowalski

I remember my coffee-clutching discussions with Steve at 5 Star.

I have to say, at least he sticks his head out there and is willing to meet-up and have a candid discussion on various topics.

I believe one of those meetings (the first one to be exact) you brought up your discussion with a certain department store chain going into the hometown developer's development, and they weren't interested.

I hope your enthusiasm can encourage you to place another phone call about other developments in our fine City - or at least pass the information you gathered to Doug Wheaton. I'm sure he'd be expecting a memo.

"Slow development or encourage development... demand quality or accept what gets proposed."

Are you asking a question or stating what the Common Council is currently doing vs what some bloggers are mentioning?

Demanding quality apparently wasn't on the top of the list when it came to the Target - I should know. I struggled all summer long to get an ear of the City government. I certaintly didn't receive any e-mails of support from you, Steve.

Luckily Mayor Taylor ultimately heard the residents speak out and worked with the Plan Commission to get the finest Target store in the State of Wisconsin. All done without much (or any) Council assistance (to my knowledge). Would you like to change my view(s) on that?

And yes, I will admit, you truly are my "esteemed" Alderman. The 1st District oozes of love and praise for you, Steve.

I know somewhere down the line I'll start a petition to erect a statue at The Shoppes at Legend Creek in your honor.

Greg Kowalski

To answer Raymond's comment - yes, the Sendik's on all sides except the front will be painted precast concrete at Wyndham Village. And yes, Sendik's at Fountains of Franklin was required to do all 4 sides of their building in brick.

I made note of it on my former Franklin Development News blog, to which I got some flack from fellow FranklinNOW bloggers about it - some just don't care about design standards.

If you'd like to see the Plan A to Plan B renderings for the Shoppes at Wyndham Village, just send me an e-mail! You'll love the original plans Mark Carstensen had one year ago to the day (or yesterday).


Thanks for answering my question Greg. Now the second part of my question for Steve-O. Why the different standards for each Sendik's? Brick for the non-local developer, and precast for the hometown boy?

Greg Kowalski

No problem, Raymond.

It's a good question for the Aldermen - especially since he was in on every single meeting Mark Carstensen had with the neighbors across the street, representing the 1st District in the 2nd District, trying to get those truly unique stores that no other suburb has in SE Wisconsin.

I think I need to have another coffee break with my esteemed Alderman Steve O again sometime soon.

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