Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Eminent Domain Takeover Of Cetina’s Land Put On Hold

Alderman Witkowiak makes motion to keep the eminent domain resolution for land grabbing in Council

By H. Nelson Goodson
June 17, 2009

Milwaukee -On Tuesday, June 16, the Common Council supported a motion by Alderman James Witkowiak, to keep the eminent domain resolution to takeover the land owned by Eligio Cetina in council. Witkowiak said that the Cetina family was planning to submit redevelopment plans for their property. Witkowiak said, that in all fairness, the Common Council should allow time for the Cetina’s to submit the plans.
“Recently the owner of the property has contended that I've somehow been unfair...Characterizing me as some kind of villain, that I engineered the deal with Pete's Fruit Market. That is not the case whatsoever,” Witkowiak said.
The property plans to establish a Mexican Mayan Restaurant will be submitted soon, according to Rafael Cetina. The Cetina’s were happy to hear that the city is giving them time to submit the business plan.
The city wants to take Cetina’s property, and it was exercising eminent domain to facilitate the expansion of Pete's Fruit Market in the area of S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr. and Greenfield and will contribute to the revitalization of the area. Anna and Eligio Cetina own the properties at 1443 and 1445-47 South Muskego Avenue. The two land parcels were blight designated to facilitate the acquisition of the land by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in late May.
The Redevelopment Authority and the Department of City Development (DCD) have no record of ever citing the Cetina’s properties for any kind of violations that would actually classify them as blighted.
Alderman Bob Bauman said he was ready to vote for approval of using eminent domain on the Cetina’s property. The Cetina’s had their opportunity to be heard during the prior Zoning Committee meeting and everything was done properly, according to Bauman. During the Zoning Committee meeting on June 9th, the Redevelopment Authority and DCD never introduced or cited any kind of the violations to classify the Cetina’s land as blighted.
Pete Tsitiridis, owner and operator of Pete's Fruit Market at 1400 S. Union St. wants to built a $5.7 million, 51,790-square-foot expansion of his business that would include Cetina’s property.

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