Rezoning recommended for Cedarburg business parcel

By Laurie Arendt - News Graphic Staff

Feb. 27, 2018

CEDARBURG — The question over what to do about Cedarburg’s last remaining undeveloped business parcel was reviewed by the city’s Community Development Authority last Wednesday.

On one hand, if the 5-acre parcel located off of Evergreen Boulevard is rezoned, it leaves no available land until the city establishes its expected industrial park on Highway 60, a project that is still a few years in the making.

On the other hand, it’s a parcel that’s not particularly suited to business development, and it has sat vacant for years with no serious interest from anyone to purchase or develop it.

“This parcel has sat for 15 years,” said CDA member Jack Arnett. “Just because it has M-3 (zoning), doesn’t mean anyone is going to develop it.”

The matter was being reviewed by the CDA at the request of the Plan Commission, which had met earlier in the month to review a proposal by Greg James to develop a 24- to 28-unit condominium project on the site. To do so would require the parcel to be rezoned from M-3 Industrial to RD-1 Two-Family Residential.

Plan Commission members asked for the review due to the fact that developable business land was at a premium in the city, at least for the time being. They also asked the CDA to consider the viability of purchasing the parcel, reselling it or just keeping the zoning as it is.

James’s plans were also dealt an additional wrinkle, according to City Planner Jon Censky, who had done some research since the Plan Commission meeting.

“This parcel is part of Business Park No. 1, and it is subject to certain covenants, which would preclude any zoning and are in effect in perpetuity,” he explained. “To change this zoning would be quite an undertaking.”

It would also require the approval of all the existing landowners in the business park.

“So one landowner could have veto rights and that’s it?” asked CDA member and Mayor Kip Kinzel, to which Censky confirmed.

James noted that he had postponed reaching out to the other neighbors until he knew what the Plan Commission’s decision was on the project, as well as the fact that he had also just learned of the covenant issue earlier in the day.

He also noted that should he pursue this project, he would not be seeking any assistance or financing via a tax incremental finance district, though this parcel is part of the city’s original TIF which has since closed.

After brief discussion, the CDA voted to recommend that the Plan Commission approve the rezoning of the parcel. Should all the necessary steps be completed to rezone the parcel, James’s project would include a private road and two-bedroom, two-bath condos with a selling price of about $300,000.