A disassembled truck sits outside the boarded-up
Bermico building Tuesday afternoon in West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News
soon-to-be completed environmental assessment report
could control use of the former Bermico property in West
The city has
filed a raze order with the Washington County Register of Deeds for
the buildings at 2100 Northwestern Ave. The deadline for the
property owner to object has passed. City and Washington County
officials have a draft environmental assessment of the property on
their desks waiting for review and changes, which could mean changes
for the land’s use.
“The raze order
has been filed, the windows are boarded up and the locks have been
changed,” West Bend Administrator T.J. Justice said. “The tenants
have moved and all equipment is gone.”
passersby will see there are vehicles onsite.
declared unsafe by the city, unsanitary and unfit for human
habitation, is owned by JBH Investments. Majority owner John Bagley
has limited access to the building.
“The owner can
enter the building under controlled access as deemed appropriate by
the city inspector,” Justice said.
At a recent
meeting of the Washington County Site Development Steering
Committee, Justice announced a draft environmental assessment report
will be part of a pitch for county funding.
The Daily News
was denied access to the assessment.
“It’s still in
draft form. I haven’t had the chance to even look at it yet,” said
Debora Sielski, Washington County Deputy Planning and Parks
administrator, who works with the committee. “We (the county and the
city) still need to review it and make some possible changes. Once
it’s in final form we can release it.”
decides what properties qualify for financial assistance in
assessing the cleanup and development of brownfield properties in
the county. The funds can be used for environmental assessment,
drilling or testing to locate contaminants and a development plan.
The next phase would include testing for contaminants on the site.
The county funds come from a federal grant and can’t be used for
demolition or remediation.
“Our staff is
still working on a redevelopment plan,” Justice said.
fought a legal battle with the city over his attempts to redevelop
the property. He said city officials have thrown as many roadblocks
as possible in his way to prevent him from finishing his plans. In
the past, Bagley accused city officials of coveting the property so
it can be developed the way they want. He said he has spent
thousands of dollars on repairs and cleanup. Bagley did not return
calls for comment by deadline.
In May, Circuit
Court Judge James Muehlbauer dismissed an attempt by the city to
raze the building. On July 6, the city posted stop work orders on
the property that said the building was unfit for human habitation.
Justice said the order was imposed because the city had reason to
believe work was done without proper permits. In September, the city
filed the new raze order, which calls for the building to be razed
and the site left in a “dust-free and erosion-free” condition. If
the property owner does not demolish the buildings the city can, and
subsequently add that cost to the property’s tax bill.
“It would be
premature to say the city could possibly buy the property,” Justice
said. “We appreciate that the owner has been cooperative now and
we’re hoping a deal can be worked out that’s good for all the
West Bend 7th
District Alderman Adam Williquette, representative of the district
where the property is, said he could not comment on the issue
because of “ongoing litigation.”
Reach reporter Joe VanDeLaarschot at