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Mystic Heights residents oppose development

Board defers zoning decision to July 21

By John Faucher

More than 20 people attended the Hortonville Village Board meeting Thursday, July 7, to sound off on a proposed housing development.

Village board held a public hearing regarding the proposed rezoning of a 20-acre parcel from Agricultural to R2 two-family residential.

Christopher and Ann Books requested the zoning change for property they own located east of Mystic Drive. The 20-acre parcel is currently a farm field.

The couple would like to develop the property into several high-end twindos. The remaining portion of the development would include single-family homes, and lots for sale.

A twindo is a duplex that houses two families most often with one retaining ownership and the other renting.

The village planning and zoning commission approved the zoning change at its June 14 meeting, and recommended the change goes to public hearing for board approval.

Village Administrator Diane Wessel said a subdivision plat would be a separate process, if the zoning change were approved.

A rough estimate of the tax implication to the village, if the zoning change is approved and property is developed (assuming 14 lots), would be approximately $32,000 in local taxes per year. The development would also generate roughly $17,000 in county taxes, an additional $29,000 for the school district and $4,000 for Fox Valley Tech.

Wessel said that the Books property is included in the Village of Hortonville Comprehensive Plan-2035, and is shown as long-term residential growth and service extension area.

The property is surrounded by R-1 Residential development to the west and Planned Unit Development farther west, Agricultural zoning to the north and Single Family Residential development to the south.

Wessel highlighted some possible advantages and disadvantages for the proposed zoning change.

She said the larger scale rezone of property promotes planned development through a plat rather than piecemeal five plus acre surveys. “This will likely result in fewer direct access points to North Crest Drive and a more designed development,” said Wessel.

“Smaller parcel sizes and mixed residential [single and two family] results in higher density development [less than five acre lots] which results in a lower cost per unit for the extension of services than larger lot development.”

Wessel also noted that a zone change to R-2 would allow the property to be used for single-family and two-family residential and increase the residential housing tax base in the village.

Wessel said that duplex units might help meet the high demand for new rental units in the village.

“In particular, the growing trend is for baby boomers to forego homeownership for higher end, new construction rental units,” said Wessel. “Hortonville currently does not have a supply of available units.”

The only possible disadvantages of approving a zoning change Wessel included in her report to the board were the additional residential traffic that may be using Mystic Drive and N. Crest Street, and the loss of agricultural land.

The majority of Mystic Heights property owners in attendance wished to be on record as being against the development.

Some Mystic Heights property owners wanted to see a map of the lot sizes and layout for the proposed development.

One individual stated, “What’s to stop the whole 20 acres from being developed into rental units?”

Others were concerned about their home values going down, and concerns with the increased density of people on the land.

Village Attorney Robert Sorenson said, “The issue that is before us tonight is rezoning.”

Wessel explained that the process would be the same as it was for Mystic Heights subdivision.

“If the rezone is approved, the next step would be for the property owner/developer to submit a subdivision plat for review and approval,” said Wessel.

Wessel explained that the board’s decision has to be based on a number of factors, including consistency within the village comprehensive plan, zoning consistency, and the effect on public health and safety.

Board members also discussed whether they could have control over the project after the fact if the rezone is approved.

Sorenson said they would have some control of the plat map in the process, but they could not put conditions into zoning.

Board trustee Peter Olk asked if the board could possibly split it into two zoning parcels for R-1 and R-2 separately. “Is there an opportunity to have R2 on the portion along County MM, and anything behind that would be R1,” asked Olk.

Sorensen said that could be an option.

Board trustee Julie Vanden Huevel asked for clarification of what the board options were for voting that night. She was told they could approve, deny or table the discussion, and allow for more consideration.

Olk requested the matter be deferred to the next meeting for the benefit of all the parties involved. The board then unanimously approved deferring the decision to the July 21 meeting. It was noted that the meeting times for future board meetings has changed from 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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