From the City of Racine Website, describing one of Brian O’Connell’s responsibilities: Development Regulation is the administration of the city’s development controls in such a manner as to maintain and increase property values….
From The Journal Times, November 10, 2011:
RACINE — A local businessman plans to build a $1 million gas station, convenience store, Subway restaurant and car wash on a vacant, city-owned property.
The Washington Avenue property, site of the former Schaefer Pontiac auto dealership, consists of five city parcels combined. About four years ago the Schaefer family donated the property to the city, which removed a decrepit building to create a development site.
Other proposals had been made for the site but were either declined by the city, or the developer did not follow through.
What clinched the choice of Ajmeri over a similar proposal was that he had a firm bank financing commitment with no contingencies, City Development Director Brian O’Connell said Wednesday.
He also said the development will be given a “higher level of finish” than an ordinary gas station and have more of a retail appearance.
Ajmeri said this will be his largest project yet, estimating it will cost more than $1 million.
Pending City Council approval, O’Connell said Ajmeri will pay $1,000 for a six-month option to get his other approvals to proceed, and would then buy the land for $10,000. The agreement will hold him to building what he promised, O’Connell added.
Ajmeri said he wants to start construction in the spring and open the businesses by about next August.
Besides an Ayra’s gas station, convenience store, Subway and car wash, the development will contain one more unit; Ajmeri has not yet decided what to put in that space.
“The agreement will hold him to build what he promised”! So where is the car wash in this highly touted $1.2 Million Development, Director of City Development Brian O’Connell? It was NEVER built! SO when do the clawbacks begin?
It is TRUE that the car wash was never built! Instead, the car wash is going to built by the new owner!
AFTER the sale of Ayra’s for $1.5M, Harjeet S. Walia, representing Choice Petroleum LLC, asked the Racine Common Council for a major amendment to a conditional use permit to add: daily 24-hour operation of the convenient store; installation of a 25-foot pylon sign; and installation of a single-bay automatic car wash at 1130 Washington Avenue. Approved by The Racine Common Council on October 21, 2014.
In their vote to approve the Car Wash – which was not built in violation of the agreement with the original buyer, the Racine Common Council on October 21, 2014 also decided to allow the new owner to violate City of Racine Ordinances and construct a sign over 15 feet in height.
From The Journal Times, October 9, 2014:
RACINE — The City’s amended sign-height standard proved a tough hurdle to clear twice during Wednesday’s City Plan Commission meeting.
About a year ago, the city chopped its maximum height for exterior business signs from 25 to 15 feet, with older signs exceeding that height granted grandfathered clauses. Twice on Wednesday, the new standard proved difficult and the commission recommended exceptions.
One came with a request by Harjeet Walia, who is buying the Ayra’s gas station, convenience store and Subway restaurant at 1130 Washington Ave. from local businessman Akil Ajmeri. Walia sought what are considered major amendments to the business’ existing conditional-use permit. Those were requests for:
- A 24-hour operation. Ayra’s currently is allowed by permit to be open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- A one-bay automatic car wash.
- A 26-foot-tall sign for the station, which is changing to the BP brand, and the other
Only the last item was problematic because of the city’s signage ordinance that was amended about a year ago.
To be able to operate 24 hours, city staff said Walia should submit a security plan “to address the overnight hours, as past 24-hour operations in this area of the city have had security challenges (e.g. fights, shootings, etc.).”
AND – Not only was the car wash NOT built – The Gas Station was granted a hard liquor license in a fragile neighborhood – and in excess of caps placed on those hard liquor licenses by the Common Council!
From The Journal Times, August 22, 2012:
RACINE — Arguing that they couldn’t stand between an economically battered Uptown and a $1.2 million development, aldermen voted 10-3 Tuesday to exceed the city’s cap on hard liquor licenses.
The city currently has 28 Class A liquor licenses issued. Ajmeri’s license would bring that number to 29 — five more than the city’s self-imposed quota of 24 licenses for that particular class.
On Tuesday, aldermen voted 10-3 to both allow the city to exceed its Class A quota, and approve Ajmeri’s application for the license.
But while the Common Council, in this taxpayer subsidized project, violated caps and approved the Hard Liquor License, they didn’t approve the sales of “Single Servings”, or Drug Paraphernalia – in a “fragile neighborhood”!
But here they are! Actual pictures from Ayra’s at 1130 Washington Ave. City of Racine Taxpayers have subsidized this operation which was assisted by City of Racine Mayor John Dickert, Director Of City Development Brian O’Connell and Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig. Debra Ladwig, the wife of Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig received a job from Ayra’s in exchange. How nice.
Single Servings. Sold in violation of conditions imposed by the Racine Common Council.
Smoking accessories. In a fragile neighborhood! What do the children think?
A nice job for Debra Ladwig, the wife of very Corrupt and Kickback King Republican Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig:
Does Debra Ladwig payout on the video poker
gambling machines – for Amusement Only! At the Ayra’s at 4700 Washington Ave.?
Then THIS from the Journal Times, October 8, 2013:
Developer says $200,000 was spent removing undetected foundations
RACINE — The businessman behind a $1.2 million commercial development near Uptown has been awarded up to $100,000 in special project funds from the area’s tax increment finance district to help pay for unforeseen earth work.
Approved Monday night by the committee that represents the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Racine, the grant will be used to help reimburse the developer for money he spent demolishing and excavating foundations that no one knew were located on the site.
“It was filled in with dirt, and also tires, and there was an old furnace,” Sadowski said. “They did a lot of soil borings on the site and none of the soil borings ever turned up any of this … That area used to be a very prime residential area in the city.”
“They” did a lot of soil borings on this site?
Who is THEY? Who did the soil borings?
Where is the data from the soil borings?
Why are City Taxpayers liable, and required to grant a $100,000 kickback to Ayra’s?
How incompetent is Matt Sadowski? And is he LYING? No one knows because the information concerning the alleged soil borings has never been publicly released. It’s just an unsubstantiated claim – for which the City of Racine taxpayers paid.
So when will Director of City Development Brian O’Connell release the information proving that soil borings were done? And by Who? And why are City of Racine taxpayers liable?
But it gets worse for City of Racine Taxpayers – because this highly touted $1.2 Million Dollar development, which failed to include the negotiated car wash, was assessed at only $850,000! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
Just when City of Racine Taxpayers thought it couldn’t get any worse – Ayra’s at 1130 Washington Avenue was granted property tax exemptions for 2014 and 2015 by Director of City Development Brian O’Connell! KICKBACKS R US!
May 5, 2014, from the Redevelopment Authority Of The City of Racine:
So is it any wonder why the City of Racine is facing a $6 Million + Plus Revenue Shortfall for 2015, while Public Officials and their Employees continue to live “High on the Hog” with $100,000 PLUS salaries and Tax-Free Benefit packages of $20,000- $40,000 +?
It’s True! This is how the City of Racine Downtown Game is played!
LINK to the Amended Development Agreement made between Ayra’s and Brian O’Connell – HERE!
Everybody Loves Freddie! Mercury! PLAY THE GAME! LIVE!
Between Freddie’s Singing and Piano Playing and Brian May’s Guitar – what’s not to love? Play the GAME!
It’s a Free World, unless you are a City Of Racine Taxpayer!
By SPECIAL REQUEST….