Plans for the owners of Colectivo to open a burger and custard stand in MidTown Tosa took another step forward Monday, Jan. 9.
By a vote of 6-1, the Wauwatosa Plan Commission approved a conditional use agreement to turn the former site of Tosa Gas into a restaurant called The Ruckus. The parcel at 8334 W. North Ave. has been dormant since the gas station closed over a year ago.
In previous meetings regarding the project, neighbors of the proposed design have expressed concerns about things such as exhaust, parking, hours of operation and potential loss of property value. Colectivo spokesman Scott Schwebel said that his organization has listened to those concerns.
"We significantly modified our plan to accommodate basically all of the concerns of the neighborhood. We want to be good neighbors," Schwebel said. "We also want to have a successful business. I think it is a wonderful opportunity to build in a very delightful neighborhood."
Andy Ryther and his family reside next door to the lot and said he does not feel as if his concerns have been addressed.
"(Schwebel) confirmed that they are not willing to do any type of negotiation with the neighbors directly to help them with any financial impact due to the loss of property value," Ryther said. "We are going to continue to fight this project because we do not feel it is a good fit for the neighborhood."
The next step toward getting the enterprise into the construction phase is a rezoning of the property. A public hearing regarding rezoning the parcel for commercial use will be held Jan. 17. In addition, the common council will debate the project in committee and may put it on the agenda for the Jan. 31 meeting.
"It was nonconforming when it was Tosa Gas," principal planner for the city Tammy Szudy said. "Once it closed it could not be reopened unless the zoning district changes."
Other neighbors felt that Colectivo's owners have heard the concerns of those who live close to the site.
"I feel that it addresses a blighted property and puts a beautiful building there. I think that will increase the tax value for the city, and I think it will bring jobs," Rob Deflieze said. "I do agree that they need to be mindful of the hours, the noise and potentially the smell. I think this design has addressed a lot of those questions and I think the developer has come a long way in making a beautiful building that will be an asset to the community."
Among the changes made to the original plan include orienting the seating and main entrance toward North Avenue, eliminating all open-air windows, decreasing significant seating along 84th Street and moving the "noisy mechanicals" on the roof to the south and west for noise mitigation.
The proposed hours of operation remain the same — 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The commission members did indicate that before final approval will be given on the project they wanted to see the emissions issue addressed in addition to the patio speakers that will be used for music and announcements. The lone dissenting vote from the commission came from Tom Stacey, who wants further discussion regarding the neighbors' concerns.
"I wasn’t satisfied at this moment with the answers on the emissions for the facility and I wasn’t in favor of that kind of spot zoning," Stacey said. "I think there needs to be a more comprehensive plan for that. For me it is about whether or not it fits the fabric of the neighborhood."
Colectivo has opened a The Ruckus location at 4144 N. Oakland Ave. in Shorewood. The eatery is billed as a classic "neighborhood ice cream and burger stand" which will offer a small selection of grilled items, custom-made ice cream and housemade churros.