MERTON — High-end, large
lot residential developers in Lake Country usually try to cram as
many lots as possible into their development plans while at the same
time meeting strict municipal standards for open spaces.
But Albin “Chip” Halquist and his development team are doing just
the opposite in Merton.
Halquist told the Plan Commission on Wednesday night he is reducing
the number of lots in his proposed 135-acre residential development
located near the intersection of Hwy KE (Winkelman Road) and
Ainsworth Road on the village’s southern boundary with Hartland,
Lisbon and the Town of Merton.
The farmland is owned by the four grandsons of Albin “Stoney”
Halquist, the founder of the Halquist Stone Company, although the
brothers are no longer associated with the stone company, according
During the August Plan Commission meeting, Halquist presented a
proposal that included 90 lots ranging in size from one to three
However, at Wednesday’s meeting, Halquist told the commissioners a
new plan includes 68 rather than 90 lots.
Halquist explained he is reducing the number of lots on the advice
of his marketing consultant, real estate agent Liz Tobolt.
Halquist anticipates final plans will be presented to the commission
in early 2019. Halquist’s plans are likely to win quick approval
from the village because the development is compatible with the
village’s long-range land use plan and does not require conditional
uses or approval as a planned unit development, according to Village
Administrator Tom Nelson. Tobolt told the commission the development
will be more attractive and marketable if there are a larger number
of 3-acre lots than was originally proposed.
“The three-acre estate lots give homeowners more flexibility where
they can locate the home on the lot and the kinds of accessory
buildings they can have,” she later told The Freeman.
Requesting private drives, stop sign
She added that because of the unusually hilly topography of the
land, “there are some incredible views” from some of the lots.
However, because of the topography, according to Halquist, it is
necessary to build three private drives that will serve about 10
homes in the development.
However, private drives are no longer permitted in the village,
according to Nelson.
Nelson told the commissioners they should either waive the village
ordinance prohibiting private drives or allow Halquist to build
substandard village street to serve the 10 homes.
Village President Ron Reinowski said he would prefer Halquist be
allowed to build the substandard public street.
The standard village street has 60 feet of right of way and includes
curbs and gutters.
Halquist said he could build streets with a 40-foot-wide right of
way serving the 10 homes.
Reinowski said he wanted Josh Paral, chief of the Merton Community
Fire Department, to review the street plans for fire and emergency
medical service equipment access before the Plan Commission decided
on the streets.
Halquist’s planning consultant Keith Kindred of Short Elliott
Hendrickson Inc. encouraged village officials to ask Waukesha County
for a three-way stop at the intersection of Hwy KE and Ainsworth
Kindred told the commission the intersection is dangerous because
there is not enough distance for drivers at the intersection to see
oncoming cars because of the hilly topography.
He noted that Ainsworth is going to be one of the primary accesses
to and from the proposed development. He said county officials might
also consider reducing the speed limit on Hwy KE because of the
anticipated increase in traffic on the road because of the new
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