New Mequon homes costing longtime neighbors
Council members looking at how sewer expansion is assessed

By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff

May 26, 2015

MEQUON — As plans for building as many as 200 new homes in central Mequon advance, some longtime area residents are finding themselves caught in the middle of the boom.

Several residents appeared before the Mequon Common Council May 12 to complain they may have to pay as much as $35,000 to get connected to the sewers being expanded into the area.

“I’m paying $20,000 so developers can reap all of the profit,” said Janice Besler, who lives in the 10600 block of North Wauwatosa Road.

Patrick McDonald, another resident who lives in the 10300 block of North Wauwatosa Road, said he was told that he would have to connect to the incoming sewer for $35,000.

Kristin Lundeen, the city engineer and director of public works, said the city decided the fairest way to charge for the sewer expansion was to base it on acreage. All of the homes in the Central Growth Area will be developed on lots with an overall density of 1 acre. Most lots will be around one-half acre; the remaining land will be green space for community use of the subdivision.

The affected homeowners who have lived in the area for years live on much bigger properties; some could be subdivided, while others cannot.

Two developers are moving forward with three projects that, when fully built out, could add approximately 200 homes to the city. The subdivisions are in an area between Wauwatosa and Swan roads with Donges Bay Road to the south. The development will extend north to the rear of subdivisions that now face Mequon Road.

Council members appeared sympathetic to the residents’ plight and tabled two of four items related to the sewer projects to give city staff time to work out an arrangement that would address their concerns.

Possible solutions would be to spread out payments for the sewer work over a number of years, change the formula for how the costs are computed or allow the existing residents to defer payments for the work until their property is sold.

“I don’t want to force them off their farmsteads,” said Pamela Fuhry-Adams, who represents Mequon’s 8th District. “They’re going to have the value (from the improvements). They’re just going to have to pay for it later when it sells.”

Connie Pukaite, who represents District 2, said there are nine – or possibly fewer – existing residents who are affected. The potential cost for the sewer extension solely for these properties will be slightly lower than $250,000.

“I think we should be able to sit down and noodle this out,” she said.

Dale Mayr, the District 3 alderman, agreed. “I find it increasingly difficult to charge people who don’t want it and don’t need it,” he said.

The council then unanimously:

■ Approved the sale of $7.125 million in general obligation bonds to fund the work. Of that amount, $5.8 million is to fund road improvements throughout the city over the next three years; $1.325 million is for the sewer infrastructure improvements.

■ Approved the low bid of Kruczek Construction to complete the sewer work.

■ Tabled two resolutions that deal with special assessments for the project. The council likely will discuss the issue again at its June meeting.

Gary Achterberg can be reached at .