Jackson panel recommends storage unit proposal, but questions still loom
Proposed Stone Brook Drive property could be on wetland-designated site

By Dave Fidlin - For the Daily News

Jan. 6, 2019

JACKSON — After a one-month hiatus, a village of Jackson panel Thursday gave a favorable recommendation to a proposed 60-unit storage facility near a residential development.

But in reviewing applicant Joseph Merkel’s proposal at W206 N16001 Stone Brook Drive and W206 N16010 Stone Brook Drive, village staffers noted a potential point of concern — the property is in an area delineated as a wetland.

Village Administrator John Walther said he believes Merkel’s proposal would be an improvement to the property — and members of the Plan Commission echoed similar sentiments.

“I think overall it would definitely improve the look of that area,” Walther said.

While commissioners gave their favorable recommendation to the Village Board, which will act on the recommendation at Tuesday’s meeting, the panel strongly suggested Merkel get confirmation on the site’ status before any dirt is pushed around to make way for the development.

“An area doesn’t have to be under water for it to be a wetland,” commissioner Jon Weil said. “I wouldn’t do anything until you determine whether or not this is a wetland.”

Walther said several agencies beyond the village’s purview — including the state Department of Natural Resources and Washington County — would have to review the site and make a definitive determination.

“It would be your responsibility to do that,” Walther said to Merkel. Depending upon the determination reached, Walther said Merkel might need to “mitigate the site in some fashion.”

Merkel originally went before the Plan Commission a month ago, but members of the appointed body refrained from making a final recommendation at the time, asserting Merkel did not supply enough information.

Although the new proposed storage units would abut two residential sites — Sherman Meadows and the Twin Bridges Condominiums — Merkel said his new envision would compliment the nearby residential properties.

“I would just like to do a little something there … and I think this would be something nice for the tenants,” Merkel said as he re-emphasized his plans at this week’s meeting.

According to his application materials, Merkel is proposing architectural characteristics that mimic Sherman Meadows and Twin Bridges, including a beige color scheme and brick façade.

The units would be geared toward tenants and property owners living within Sherman Meadows and Twin Bridges, Merkel said.

In his initial presentation, Merkel said he did reach out to residents near the land envisioned for the storage units to solicit comments on his proposal.

“I have not gotten back any negative feedback,” Merkel said to the commissioners last month.

The current village zoning for the pair of Stone Brook Drive parcels is deemed planned unit development — a technical designation noting the likelihood of future construction on the land.

In other business Thursday, commissioners gave a favorable recommendation to subdivide an as-yet undeveloped lot along Highland Road in the English Oaks subdivision.

One of the subdivided lots will be used immediately for new home construction if plans move forward as proposed.