A group of battle-ready residents on Tuesday kicked off plans to oppose a proposed grocery store on Madison's east side.
The group, consisting of more than a dozen neighbors in the Grandview Commons development, hopes to rally support to block the construction of a 62,000-square foot Copps store in their town square on North Star Drive.
"This is a fight we gotta dig in and win," resident John Driscoll said at the meeting in the Grandview Commons neighborhood. "We're not opposed to a store. We want a market, we want a city square, but it's got to be appropriately sized, and put in the right place."
Neighbors take issue with the size of the proposed store, designed to attract customers from outside the Grandview Commons development, which is billed as "an all-inclusive living environment." Many fear the added traffic will cause safety hazards that families have specifically sought to avoid.
Apprehension over safety and size were also aired at a preliminary meeting in February. Developers at that meeting said the economic constraints of the area point to a mid-size store -- larger than a Trader Joe's, but smaller than a Woodman's.
"We don't want to just have people stopping for milk and bread, we want this to be your large one-stop shop," said Dan Farrell, a representative of Roundy's, which owns the Copps chain.
In addition to the grocery store developers and city representatives, the group plans to take aim at Veridian Homes, the developer of their "new urbanism" community.
"I did not move to this neighborhood to deal with commercial trucks and property," John Vardallas, a neighbor said. "This place has porches and a sense of neighborhood, and if you take them to task on their marketing it flies in the face of their motto of 'Dream Build Live.'"
Ald. Lauren Cnare, who represents the neighborhood, is in favor of a grocery store, but admits the current proposal may not be the perfect fit for the area.
"We have to think logically about how everyone who lives there now is going to a grocery store and they don't walk," says Cnare, who was not at Tuesday's meeting. "So there's traffic anyway."
Neighbors at the meeting took the alder to task for wanting to push the proposal through, but Cnare said she is dedicated to the official process.
"Some folks are like 'sure go ahead,' but some aren't," says Cnare. "This is the normal course of discussion. At the end of the day, if we decide it's not a good fit that's okay, but it's not okay to hijack procedures and not try to be as fully engaged as we can."
Neighbors including Barbara Davis plan to distribute flyers this weekend to gain support for a smaller store and draw attention to the next Plan Commission meeting, on April 26.