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Pierce’s Express Mart granted variances by West Baraboo board for redevelopment

April 13, 2019

Brian Pierce cleared a hurdle Tuesday on his way toward redeveloping a West Baraboo property into a gas station and convenience store.

After a public hearing, the West Baraboo Village Board of Appeals granted Pierce, the owner of Baraboo’s east-side Pierce’s Express Market, several variance requests for his proposed project at 527 Linn St. and 506 W. Pine St., the sites of the former Shoe Box and the former Fratelli’s Family Italian Restaurant. He purchased the two properties at the end of 2018.

Asked by Trustee Jim Allen if the business will include a liquor store, Pierce said, “You will be able to get most of your needs on the way home.”

Village Clerk Kaitlin Nye said the village granted Pierce a liquor license a couple months ago, but Pierce said he doesn’t intend the establishment to be a liquor store. It will be like his east-side store but smaller, he said.

Site plans for Pierce’s Express Mart show that he intends to raze the former restaurant building, replacing it with asphalt and diesel pumps. The former shoe store will be remodeled into an express mart.

To continue with his plans, Pierce needed variances for village zoning code, including stormwater requirements and sign size and height, which he applied for as a member with BP Operators LLC and WP Delton Development LLC.

Zoning Administrator Jeremy Peach recommended the sign variance be approved with certain conditions, noting that if Pierce followed existing code, the sign may not be able to effectively advertise fuel sales and could block drivers’ visibility while turning onto Linn Street. The proposed sign would exceed height limits by 10 feet and maximum surface area by almost 50 square feet.

Other businesses such as U-Haul and Culver’s have been allowed to install signs larger or higher than zoning code allows. U-Haul’s sign is almost three times the size of the one Pierce proposed, according to Village Attorney Julia Potter.

Trustee Jim Bowers said a new business would be at a disadvantage if it had to comply with sign requirements while competing against businesses that were granted variances.

“I think it’s only fair that we go along with” Pierce’s request, Bowers said before the board voted to approve it.

The board also granted a variance to allow a gas pump island and its canopy to be closer to the road than usually allowed, a change that Peach said would be safer than the alternative.

Two variances on stormwater requirements — reducing stormwater flow rates and reducing total suspended solids — were also approved on the recommendation of Village Engineer Tim Mikonowicz, who found that neither has been a problem at the site and that Pierce’s development wouldn’t change that.

However, the board decided Pierce needs to comply with oil and grease separation requirements by installing a “device or buffer” that would collect or pretreat stormwater before it discharges into the village stormwater system. That variance was denied on Mikonowicz’s recommendation.