Separate proposal from same developer being review

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About five months after warning the city of its intent to do so, a developer has filed a lawsuit over a rejected proposal to transform the former site of the Gasthaus into a retail plaza with a multi-tenant shopping center and standalone Panda Express restaurant.

The lawsuit, from CFT NV Developments LLC – an affiliate of Panda Restaurant Group – was filed Feb. 8 in Waukesha County Circuit Court. It seeks a judicial review of the decision of the city's plan commission to turn away the project, primarily for traffic concerns, and argues that in effect the city condemned the site but did not compensate CFT for that condemnation.

"By denying the development on the site proposed by CFT NV because of existing traffic problems, the city took all or substantially all of the use of the site, as it is prohibiting development of a parcel of real estate due to pre-existing issues that are not caused solely by the use of that parcel," the lawsuit said.

"The denial of any development on the site, without compensation therefor, constitutes a taking of the site."

RELATED: Waukesha's iconic Gasthaus restaurant closes

Mayor Shawn Reilly did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. The city still has several days to file its formal response. Court records show that no future hearing dates have been set in the case as of Monday afternoon, Feb. 13.

The lawsuit comes while a second Waukesha-based proposal from CFT, for a Panda Express restaurant on the city's southeast side, is making its way through the approval process.

The plan commission in November approved preliminary plans for 2,600-square-foot building at the northwest corner of the Meijer property near Sunset Drive and Tenny Avenue. That project is scheduled to again be reviewed by the commission at its Feb. 22 meeting.

According to a preliminary agenda, the commission is expected to take action on the restaurant's final site and architectural plans.

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