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Genoa Board rejects White Trail Crossing proposal

Developer negotiations may continue

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A Closer Look
By Steve Targo

Lake Geneva Regional News

The Genoa City Village Board April 10 unanimously approved a motion to reject a revised White Trail Crossing subdivision proposal on a 40-acre site north of Wisconsin, Freeman and Sumner streets.

The board is not against the development, but trustees ex-pressed a desire to see the developers want to be a part of the community and to continue negotiations until both sides are happy.

Trustee David Burton said April 11 that he contacted the developers in order to set a future meeting. The board wants to continue negotiating with the developers in order to reach a compromise, Burton said.

"I think we can solve this deal," Burton said. "The last thing we want is ... for them to come in and get treated poorly and go away."

The board discussed a letter that was faxed to Burton April 8 from developers Helmut Peter and Gary and Mark Buschman.

Burton said the letter is a revised proposal in which the developers offered to pay an undisclosed amount of development fees up front.

The developers originally offered to pay all the development fees. In the April 8 proposal, they offered to pay about half of the fees, Burton said. The April 8 proposal was "substandard," Burton said.

The Regional News asked Burton for a copy of the letter. Burton said he did not feel comfortable submitting the proposal given the current state of negotiations.

The last time the proposal was discussed by the board was in February, when the developers responded to a Dec. 16, 2002, letter from Board President Roger Cagann that recommends several stipulations for a proposed developer's agreement.

The developers proposed three alternative compromises to the stipulations.

The developers would build the site infrastructure according to village requirements without any off-site improvements.

The developers would pay for improvements to Wisconsin Street and the lift station on Freeman Street if water and sewer mains can be placed in the parkway.

The developers and the board can discuss a variation of the two alternatives to form a third alternative, with the mains to be placed underneath the road.

On April 10, Burton said about 70 percent of the people he talked to about the placement of utility mains are against the placement of mains in the parkway.

Village Engineer Doug Mushel and Village Director of Public Works John Wrzeszcz advised against the placement of mains in a parkway as opposed to under a road, Burton said.

Placement a key factor

The placement of utility mains for White Trail Crossing has become one of the key factors in negotiations. Burton said he believes the placement issue is "non-negotiable."

In February, the developers discussed why they asked to dig the utility mains in the parkway.

"In our opinion, it's a better way to do it," Peter said. He added that the request for main placement was prompted by the wet soil of the land.

Peter and Mushel disagreed on main placement.

Peter said numerous communities, such as Kenosha, have placed utility mains in parkway soil. Mushel said he wasn't aware of Kenosha approving such an action, but 99 percent of the state's communities place utility mains "in the middle of the road."

In January, Mushel said he recommended that the mains be installed underneath the road so future maintenance of the mains would not require the acquisition of easements on residential property.

"We're not getting into someone else's yard" if the mains are installed under the roads, Mushel said.

Although it was not read at the meeting, Goad and Burton expressed their feelings about the letter.

"They don't want to play ball," Goad said. "They want to do things their way."

Burton compared the current state of negotiations with the developers to a "shell game."

Burton moved to reject the proposal. In his motion, Burton stated that he and Goad will respond to Peter's letter and set a meeting with developers. Goad seconded the motion.

Burton said developers propose to build a 115-unit subdivision. About 80 units will be single-family residences and 35 will be multifamily homes, Burton said.

Board wants involvement

The board and Genoa City Lions Club member Chuck Schuren discussed how they perceive the developers are handling the matter.

The developers were not at the meeting. Schuren said the Buschmans told him before the meeting that they believe the board "will be more sympathetic" toward the revised proposal if they were not present.

The board discussed how other developers became involved in the village.

"This is a small town," Burton said. "Why don't they come in here and try to be a part of the community?"

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