Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

CDA hears plans to develop Duck Pond

by Jade Bolack

December 20, 2012

FONTANA — Empty lots near Duck Pond Road may soon see development, if the village board approves a rezoning proposal.

Currently, the undeveloped area to the west of Highway 67 on Wild Duck Road is zoned as “agriculture holding” to “preserve the character of the lands.”

The area also has environmental corridors, and special regulations regarding protection of the woodlands and wildlife apply, according to the village’s zoning ordinances.

Gary Wapinski presented potential plans for the area, including a senior living complex, to the Community Development Authority Dec. 12, and requested the area be rezoned to “planned development.”

“The biggest problem is the environmental issue from the garbage dump,” Wapinski said. “We had to make sure the projected lot didn’t hit that.”

The village has applied for an exemption from the state Department of Natural Resources to allow use on the property that was a garbage dump.

Wapinski said the former dump area would be used for a parking lot, not for a building or structure.

Financing concerns

The proposal is similar to the planned development on Mill Street, including Pie High Pizza, the Coffee Mill and condos.

That property was deeded to the developer with an agreed financial return to the village by a certain date. Similar rules would apply if the rezoning is approved.

Wapinski said he would need four years to make the development profitable.

According to records from the meeting, the development group would guarantee $2 million in increment value within four years after approval.

To finance construction, Wapinski asked the CDA and village to obtain industrial revenue bonds.

“Because of the situation with the former garbage dump, that’s a huge negative,” he said. “With getting the industrial revenue bond, you can bring somebody in that wouldn’t have taken a second look at it.

Wapinski said commercial banks would not finance the property because of the garbage dump, and industrial revenue bonds would not leave Fontana “obligated financially.”

The plans

If all approvals and exemptions are agreed upon, Wapinski said a three-or four-story senior housing building would generate at least the required $2 million.

After the four years, the land would revert back to village ownership if the $2 million increment is not paid.

The CDA agreed to create a subcommittee to follow-up to ensure the plans are profitable to both the community and the developer.

A full appraisal of the lots will be completed by the next CDA meeting to continue the process.