City, Developer Approve Pre-Annexation Agreement

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MTT News Desk's picture
By: 
Matt Geiger
A farm, pictured above in an early planning document, would be at the center of Pleasant View Ridge.

With the City of Middleton hoping to claim a swath of land from the Town of Middleton for a new development, the town recently started investigating the possibility of incorporating in an effort to protect its borders.

In response, the city moved swiftly to approve a pre-annexation agreement that serves as an early but key step toward realizing the proposed 162-acre Pleasant View Ridge subdivision. The pre-annexation agreement with Erdman Real Estate Holdings, Llc., was approved at a special meeting of the city council on May 14.

Erdman Holdings recently unveiled Pleasant View Ridge, a project that would include 104 single-family lots.

One unique aspect of the Pleasant View Ridge proposal is that it calls for a combination of individual and community septic services, which are typically used by towns, rather than the urban services most developers annex into cities to obtain.

The plan calls for 70 percent of the land, which is currently zoned for agricultural use, to remain open space. Thirty percent would be developed, according to documents that went before the Middleton City Council last month.

The news prompted the Middleton Town Board to hire attorney Richard Nordeng in May. While the town board subsequently discussed its incorporation options in closed session, no action has yet been taken on the issue.

The town and the city already have a border agreement, which was reached in 1994, but it doesn’t explicitly cover the Erdman property.

Incorporation offers towns more local control but also more responsibilities. It previously surfaced 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, a petition by residents 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, but there are also new proposals on the horizon for towns that hope to protect their borders from neighboring cities and villages.

Faced with the prospect of adding 162 acres to its tax base, the City of Middleton has been working hand in hand with Erdman on the project, primarily through private discussions. While the Town of Middleton’s ability to block the land’s annexation already appeared meager, the pre-annexation agreement makes movement of the land out of the town and into the city even more likely.

The agreement asserts that Erdman, which currently owns the property, hopes to develop it within the City of Middleton, rather than in the Town of Middleton where the land is currently located.

It also asserts that Erdman intends to file a Petition For Direct Annexation By Unanimous Approval, pursuant to Wisconsin law.

“Upon approval and execution of this Agreement by the City, the Owner will file a Petition for Direct Annexation by Unanimous Approval, in accordance with the provisions of Wis. Stat. § 66.0217(2),” the agreement states. “The Petition shall be filed with the City Clerk and the Town Clerk, and a copy thereof shall be sent to the Wisconsin Department of Administration per Wis. Stat. § 66.0217(6).”

Also according to the pre-annexation agreement, following the filing of the petition the developer will submit to the city a conceptual plan for the development of the property.

The City of Middleton agreed not to take any action regarding the adoption of an Annexation Ordinance with respect to the petition until at least 100 days following the date of the filing of the petition.

Following annexation, Erdman would still need to obtain zoning and subdivision approval for the city council. In addition, the developer and the city would need to enter into a developer’s agreement relating to the development of the property, installation of the infrastructure and the terms and conditions of the development.

 

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