The Onalaska Common Council on Tuesday approved the annexation of a Kwik Trip on Abbey Road into the city despite the protests of local residents.

The Kwik Trip is located at W6782 Abbey Rd., off U.S. Hwy. 53, and the company asked to be annexed to connect to city water and sewer. The property is currently part of the Town of Onalaska.

A petition opposing the annexation garnered 82 signatures, with the primary concern being that Abbey Road would be opened to through traffic as a result of the project.

However, the council voted in favor of the annexation at Tuesday’s meeting, with the only vote against the project coming from 3rd District Alderperson Ron Gjertsen.

John Haese, of Strawberry Commons, spoke against the project at the meeting. He said it would reduce the value of homes in the Abbey Road area, and would “devastate our subdivision.” Traffic would be greatly increased, he added, creating congestion and danger to the public in an area with no sidewalks.

But city administrator Eric Rindfleisch said the city was “not required” to open up the dead-end street to traffic, although he said that likely would happen at some point in the future.

Annexing the Kwik Trip would open up the possibility of further business development, Rindfleisch said, meaning new tax revenue to the city. He said that contrary to what some residents were arguing, annexation could increase property values as they would be connected to city services.

Alderperson Jim Binash, 1st District, said the reality of new residential developments in the area meant that Abbey Road would soon be opened to through traffic.

He was one of several council members who said that while they understood the concerns of residents, they had to balance that against an opportunity for the city to expand its tax base.

Also at Tuesday’s council meeting, the council voted to send back to the city’s planning commission a rezoning request from Dr. Leo Bronston. He requested to rezone a property a parcel at 1214 County Rd. PH to a neighborhood business zoning designation.

Bronston has a contract to buy the property from the River of Life Assembly of God Church and plans to use the site for an expansion of a medical practice and other small business uses, according to city documents.

A number of local residents spoke out against the rezoning, raising concerns that it could allow an influx of businesses they do not think are suitable for the area.

The property has a transition commercial and single family zoning residential designation at present. After listening to the concerns of residents, the council voted to send the proposal back to the city’s planning commission, where it could be amended before coming back to the council.

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Coulee Courier and Houston County News editor

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