Facing Loss Of 160 Acres To The City, The Town Will Look Into Incorporation

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MTT News Desk's picture
Kevin Murphy
The proposed Pleasant View Ridge Development would include various neighborhoods, one of which is pictured above in an early rendering submitted to the City of Middleton.

The Middleton Town Board will look into its options for incorporation or taking steps to otherwise block Erdman Holdings, Inc’s plans to annex 160 acres from the town into the City of Middleton.

On Monday, the board agreed to place hiring an attorney on its May 6 meeting agenda, at the suggestion of town attorney Tom Voss. Erdman is proposing a development called "Prairie View Ridge."

The town and the city have a border agreement reached in 1994 but it doesn’t explicitly cover the Erdman property, which is located just north of the Pleasant View Golf Course, said town administrator David Shaw.

The town hired attorney Richard Nordeng when it signed a border agreement with the City of Madison in 2003 and he likely would be used again, Shaw said.

Board supervisor Timothy Roehl urged getting legal background on the town’s options because state law on incorporation has changed since the town last looked into it a few years ago.

“We need to get a clear picture of what can and can’t be done,” said Roehl, who expressed no expectation that the possible Erdman annexation could be halted.

The City of Middleton is considering allowing a septic and well subdivision to accommodate the Erdman development, which Roehl said makes revisiting incorporation and annexation law necessary.

“They’re rewriting special ordinances to get a well and septic neighborhood into the City of Middleton and they may do it again,” Roehl said.

“I don’t want to see them do it again,” Roehl added. “As a board member you owe it to your constituents to know your options.”

Roehl said he knew of no other residential neighborhood in the city not served by municipal water and sewer.

Past efforts to incorporate the town into a village have fizzled and the issue probably remains a divisive one for a community that prizes its rural character.

Incorporation offers a town more local control but also more responsibilities.

Incorporation last resurfaced when the town was writing its Comprehensive Plan, but the town board let a call to form a study committee end quietly in 2011 for lack of support.

Before that, residents’ petition to seek incorporation failed to gather sufficient support in the 1990s.

Since then the Wisconsin Legislature has made incorporation of a rural area adjacent to a city more difficult, said Shaw.

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