UPDATE: Altoona moves forward on controversy over Casey’s General Store.

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Altoona (WQOW) – The controversy over a proposal to build a Casey’s General Store in the Hillcrest Green neighborhood in Altoona takes a new step forward.

Monday, the Altoona Plan Commission organized a negotiation committee to aid in site plan development with the convenience store’s officials. The committee consists of at least two Plan Commission members. The proposal has gone back and forth between the Altoona City Council and the plan commission, partly because many residents are against building the convenience store.

Dennis Bennett lives in the neighborhood. He said his main concerns are potential environmental hazards due to chemical runoff, the traffic impact for kids and seniors living in the community, and the effect on their property values. “We were told at the time that time the type of development that might go in there would be something like a CVS Pharmacy or something else and we were perfectly happy with that, and it turns out that a gas station just does not fit in with this particular environment,” Bennett said. He also praised both city council and the plan commission on their efforts in this project.

News 18 spoke with Jim Rooney, the owner of Rooney Properties, about the issue. Rooney said the land has always been set for commercial development. “The purpose for doing a planned unit development is that it lays out the intended and allowed uses for every portion of the property in the beginning. [It is] kind of unfortunate that so many people were disappointed. It was master-planned and it was always planned that it would be commercial,” Rooney said.

Legally, the city of Altoona can’t deny the Casey’s from being built in the empty space. But, it does have some power to negotiate contingencies that reduce noise, light and sound pollution, and privacy for the houses close to the store.

The negotiation committee will meet with Casey’s General Store officials soon. The committee will present the results at the November 12 Plan Commission meeting.

Altoona (WQOW) – The Altoona City Council decided it wants the plan commission to take a second look at a plan to bring a controversial convenient store to town.

As we’ve previously reported, Casey’s General Store wants to put a convenience store in the Hillcrest Greens Neighborhood along Highway 12.

Thursday, the public comment period of the city council meeting had to be extended because there was a large number of people who wanted to weigh in on the proposal. Residents who took the podium said they were concerned about the noise, traffic and potential crime a new convenient store could bring.

A representative of Rooney Property also made his pitch, and in the end, the council voted to send the plan back to the plan commission so the two sides could negotiate about the proposal.

As we’ve reported, the landowner threatened to sue the city after what he called a ‘disorganized and one-sided’ plan commission meeting last month. At that meeting, the plan commission voted unanimously not to support the proposal.

The date when the plan commission will take up the proposal is unknown.

Posted September 2018
Altoona (WQOW)
– A legal battle could be brewing over a controversial project planned for Altoona.

As we’ve previously reported, Casey’s General Store wants to put a convenience store in the Hillcrest Greens Neighborhood along Highway 12.

Some residents oppose the project, and earlier this month the city planning commission recommended the city council reject it.

That commission meeting is the reason behind a closed-session meeting of the Altoona City Council Thursday night where the council will hear from its lawyer about a letter received from Bill Albright, a representative of Rooney Properties which wants to sell the land to Casey’s.

Albright claims the planning commission meeting was disorganized and one-sided.

Albright said the public was allowed to speak at will, interrupt and clap and cheer at will with no boundaries and guidelines.

He said the commission was also told about a study on the negative impacts of gas stations, but the study was about one gas station in Great Britain in 1970.

He said in the letter the city has allowed emotion and non-factual information to warp the minds of the planning commission and give false impressions about Casey’s General Store.

Albright said if the city doesn’t follow its lawful obligation to approve Casey’s plan, then Rooney Properties will get a lawyer.

Posted August 2018
Altoona (WQOW)
– A major convenience store chain is eying up a move into the Chippewa Valley.

Casey’s General Store, based in Iowa, has more than 2,000 locations, and now is looking at putting a convenience store in the Hillcrest Greens neighborhood along Highway 12 in Altoona.

City planner Joshua Clements told News 18 Casey’s General Store model is similar to Kwik Trip with a heavy emphasis on food.

Last month, the planning commission denied the application for a conditional use permit over concerns about customer headlights shining into area homes, noise from a possible 24-hour car wash and whether area roads can handle the traffic.

Casey’s is expected to re-submit an application this month or next.

In the meantime, a meeting is set for Wednesday, August 8 at 6 p.m. at city hall for neighbors to express their concerns about the proposal.

WQOW Staff

WQOW Staff

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