No one shows at Barnwood hearing
Second public hearing canceled

By KELLY SMITH - Special to the Freeman 

Jan. 13, 2018


Newly hired Lisbon Town Planner Daniel J. Lindstrom explains to Town Chairman Joe Osterman a new ordinance relating to the controversial Barnwood residential development near Lake Five and Silver Spring roads.

TOWN OF LISBON — Town Chairman Joe Osterman was surprised — perhaps even shocked — as he gazed at a virtually empty Town Hall meeting room before a public hearing Thursday night relating to the controversial Barnwood residential development.

“I thought we would have an hour of public hearing,” said Osterman, who had expected a large crowd at the meeting.

After all, at the last two meetings about Barnwood, the meeting room was packed wall to wall, standing room only, with about 40 residents of adjacent neighborhoods objecting to the 52 lot-75-acre development near the intersection of Lake Five and Silver Spring roads.

The only person attending Thursday night’s public hearing was a reporter for The Freeman.

The hearing lasted about 40 seconds.

But during the commission meeting, commissioners and newly hired planner Daniel J. Lindstrom spent about 75 minutes in a section by section review of a new ordinance, the subject of the public hearing, that is being created because of the Barnwood controversy.

After the town approved a zoning change and a conditional use for the development, the town’s attorney advised that the Town Board must create a special planned unit development district before the development can receive final approval.

However, instead of a proposing an ordinance specifically for the Barnwood development, Lindstrom is developing a proposal that could be applied to several different kinds of future developments.

“This is for more than just Barnwood,” Lindstrom told the commission, “this is for other projects that will be coming down the road.”

He cited the 150-acre multiuse residential and commercial development along Hwy 164 that has been proposed by Neumann Companies as an example.

He said the existing town code does not provide for such a large multiuse development, but the newly created planned unit development special district code might be able to accommodate it.

One of the reasons the town hired Lindstrom, who is employed by the engineering and planning firm Vierbicher of Madison, is to assist town officials in dealing with complex development proposals that are expected to be submitted in the future, according to Osterman.

Next steps

Osterman said a public hearing scheduled for the Town Board meeting on Jan. 22 will be canceled as a result of Thursday’s meeting.

Commissioners said they want to further review Lindstrom’s proposal on

a Feb. 1 commission meeting before making a recommendation to the Town Board.

The board will hold a public hearing on the commission recommendation before voting on whether to adopt the new ordinance.

If the ordinance is adopted, then a special district specifically for the Barnwood development can be proposed, according to Lindstrom.

Commissioner Mark Meyer described the new ordinance as “a big change for us.”

“This is complicated stuff,” he added.

“I think it will put us in a better position in the event of litigation with conflicts such as Barnwood,” added Commissioner Ed Nelson.

The neighbors in the residential developments adjacent to Barnwood are objecting there are too many lots that are too small that pose too many water quality, noise pollution, land value and traffic hazard issues.

Nearly all the lots in those subdivisions are approximately one acre (42.000 square feet) in size while 13 Barnwood lots are about one acre and the remaining 39 are about 30,000 square feet.

Nelson also admonished Lindstrom to craft the new ordinance “as clear and as unambiguous as possible.”

“I like to try to eliminate as many questions as possible,” Lindstrom responded.