Town considers options on Kohlwey development

By Laurie Arendt - News Graphic Staff

Dec. 12, 2017

CEDARBURG — The Nov. 22 accident that ultimately took the life of a Grafton teacher also brought to the forefront one of the greatest concerns Cedarton Estates residents in the town of Cedarburg have regarding the newly proposed residential development on the former Kohlwey Farm: They were trapped.

“Our hearts go out to her and her family, but it validates our point in adding a development of this magnitude,” said Chris Roache, the subdivision’s de facto spokesperson, as he addressed the Town Board last week. “As it happens, we weren’t allowed in or out of our subdivision (for hours). We are certainly grateful that the town is going to take some action on this matter.”

Towne Realty is proposing to create a new subdivision that would include 91 single-family lots and 25 duplex lots. The land is currently in the town of Cedarburg; for the project to move forward, it will need to be annexed into the village of Grafton. The new subdivision would share an existing single ingress and egress point with Cedarton Estates at Keup Road and Highway 60.

Though the town of Cedarburg lacks the authority to request changes to the proposed development or stop the annexation of the land from the town of Cedarburg to the village of Grafton, the town board continues to consider efforts supporting residents who oppose the plans.

“Essentially at this point, you’re recognizing the concept plan and you have certain initial concerns,” advised town attorney Brad Hoeft at the meeting. “These are issues that have been brought to the board by the residents of Cedarton Estates, and I suggest limiting it to a few key points.”

Roache said that his subdivision has retained counsel on the matter and has planned a number of efforts to have the plan looked at more carefully, including new traffic and wetland studies.

“We anticipate that you will address the issues you can address and we will address the issues we can address,” he said.

Town Board members noted that the issue wasn’t that the Cedarton residents opposed development of the adjacent property, which the owner does have a right to develop; rather that they were concerned with the proposed plan itself, including elements such as the ingress and egress, safety issues and traffic volume concerns.

In a previous meeting, town supervisors questioned the relationship the town would have with the village in regards to the section of Keup Road that will be part of the annexation. Half of the road would be the responsibility of the town while the other half would fall under the jurisdiction of the village of Grafton.

Town supervisors noted that they had a fairly good relationship with the state Department of Transportation and with the village of Grafton, and hoped that this could be leveraged to help voice their concerns.

“To be fair, (the village of Grafton) has been good at forwarding information to us,” said Town Administrator Tim Rhode.

“We have reached out to Towne Realty, RA Smith and Associates and the village and we had to submit open records requests to get information,” said Roache. “They know they will have a fight on their hands and they’re not forthcoming with us.”

“Would a letter expressing concern on behalf of residents be appropriate?” asked Supervisor Gary Wickert.

“Essentially, it should be kept more general, noting what has transpired so far and that it has caught the town’s attention,” Hoeft said.

Town supervisors agreed to move forward with the draft of a letter, which was sent to the village of Grafton.

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