Town development stalled
Shared driveway complicates subdivision plans

By Melanie Boyung - News Graphic Staff

Sept. 22, 2015

GRAFTON — Plans for a new subdivision in the town of Grafton are stalling due to complications from a shared driveway.

Michael and Jo Ann Kuenn have applied to the town to split their 21.69acre property on Highway C into seven lots. One of the lots – which will include the current residence – would remain a normal town lot. The other six lots would be a subdivision with a shared driveway.

The subdivision would have an average lot size of 2.98 acres, according to information from the town, which is in line with the residential zoning the Kuenns intend to have the subdivision changed to.

“We do find it in keeping with the current comprehensive plan,” Town Engineer Kevin Kimmes said of the proposed development during a Plan Commission meeting Sept. 2.

The individual lots would range in size and shape, designed to preserve the natural wetland and green space while giving each access to the shared driveway. The development plan included a homeowners association plan for the six lots with requirements and limitations for the property – such as a ban on chickens and minimum home sizes – as well as property layouts showing buildable areas, locations where septic systems could be installed and the layout of the shared drive, which had already been approved by the fire department as required by town ordinance.

Several town residents spoke at the Plan Commission meeting as well, expressing concerns about lighting suggested in the plan and potential drainage problems, although the current development plan does not include a large enough amount of built surface to require a stormwater management plan.

“(The plan) is very consistent with what has been done and the surrounding area,” Kimmes said.

The development plan was approved by the Plan Commission contingent on punch list items and sent forward to the Town Board for its first review, but there it was stalled.

Between the two meetings, town staff discovered an issue with the driveway setback. A town ordinance passed in 2012 states that a shared drive serving between five and seven homes must have a 50-foot easement and that a setback is required – it does not specify what dimensions the setback must have.

The development plans the Kuenns submitted include the easement, but no setback. While the current plan allows for the required 40,000 square feet of buildable space on each lot, that could change if a setback is added.

If it does cause a problem for the development, it is possible for a variance to the ordinance to be obtained, but the Town Board decided that was an issue for the Plan Commission to consider.

“This is a unique development and it looks very attractive, but it should probably be sent back to Plan Commission,” said Town Chairman Lester Bartel.

The board voted to do so unanimously. They also discussed briefly some possible limitations being placed on the subdivision, including that the shared drive could not be paved in the future – as that would significantly raise the amount of hard surface and therefore potential drainage issues – and a prohibition placed on the property deeds that the lots could not be further divided in the future.

The development will go back to Plan Commission, after which it will still require two reviews by the Town Board as a town plat, according to board comments.

Melanie Boyung can be reached at