Mukwa residents sound off on future subdivision
Voice concerns over property values, erratic driving
By Scott Bellile
Town of Mukwa property owners shared concerns of decreasing property values and dangerous traffic during a public hearing about New London’s annexation of a 16-acre parcel where a subdivision could be built.
The New London City Council on July 9 unanimously approved annexing the privately owned Mukwa parcel west of New London High School between County Highway W and Klatt Road.
Landowner and developer Carl Romenesko plans to build a subdivision with more than 30 single- and multi-family residences.
During the public hearing, residents disagreed with Romenesko’s plan to include duplexes.
Klatt Road resident Kelly Polsin said the renter-occupied duplexes would not be kept in good shape like the owner-occupied single-family homes.
“Well I would have to disagree with you because we’ve got a number of duplexes already in town that are extremely well maintained by their owners, and they do take care of them and they make sure that the tenants keep the lawns picked up, they aren’t having cars parked all over the yard and various things like that,” Mayor Gary Henke replied.
Rocky Mountain Drive resident Carol Prill told the council “we all know what happens” when renters become part of a neighborhood.
Henke interrupted her mid-sentence and told her not to accuse low-income renters of being troublemakers.
“No, I never said that,” Prill said, adding she was going to say rental properties are poorly maintained and cause property values to drop for single-family homes.
Prill also spoke to safety, saying County W is notorious for speeders and tailgaters, and she worries the increased traffic to a new subdivision could put motorists and pedestrians at risk.
“It can get a little dangerous at times, especially when school’s out,” Prill said. “But I don’t want to blame the students. (Adults) drive just as bad.”
Pine Ridge Drive resident Voni Schuh said on weekday afternoons when classes let out at NLHS, students race west down Klatt Road to see who can get out of town first.
“Please consider the safety of not only us citizens but those kids too,” Schuh said.
Rebecca Rodriguez, owner of MS Driving Instruction in New London and a County W resident, predicted the subdivision would double traffic on Klatt Road.
“I feel Klatt Road is not big enough to have more traffic on it,” Rodriguez said. “I feel putting 30-some small houses in that little area would be unsafe.”
Henke said back when he taught at NLHS, the school made a temporary rule change so all vehicles except buses had to use the north parking lot exits to Klatt Road after school. He said this created the behavior today of students speeding down Klatt Road.
“There are a couple (curves) out there on the end of Jennings Street, that’s pretty dangerous, and there were several accidents out there just because (of) kids going too fast,” Henke said. “Yeah, we’re aware of the problem, and we will do what we can do to help solve it.”
Mukwa Town Chairman Jim Curns spoke on another matter, telling the council he had conversations with other municipalities and concluded property taxes will not pay back the $360,000 the city of New London will spend to extend water and sewer connections to Romenesko’s property “in a reasonable length of time.”
Curns also asked for stronger communication between New London and Mukwa officials during the property annexation process.
“When it came to actual notification about the process, we (Mukwa officials) were reading about it in the paper before that happened,” Curns said. “We should probably try to be on the same page a little bit more in the future.”
The New London Planning Commission will discuss the public feedback and review preliminary site layouts at a meeting Thursday, July 25, at 5 p.m. at New London City Hall.
People who did not attend the public hearing last week may submit written comments to City Clerk Jackie Beyer, 215 N. Shawano St., New London, WI 54961.