Town Hall was packed with residents who oppose a
commercial zoning code change in the town.
Kelly Smith/Special to The
TOWN OF DELAFIELD — The creation
of a commercial mixed-use zoning district along Interstate 94 is
going to be the subject of “a robust discussion” that will likely
lead to changes in the proposal during a Tuesday Plan Commission
Commission Chairman Kevin Fitzgerald is predicting more restrictive
building height and open space regulations will be added and
restaurants will not be allowed in the newly created district.
“We may also want to take another look at lighting (regulations),”
he added a few days after a Nov. 20 public hearing.
The proposal defines regulations for light industrial, medical,
commercial office, retail, restaurant and multi family residential
use in the district.
It also requires developers to submit a comprehensive master
development plan before a site can be approved.
More than 60 residents in a standing room only crowd attended the
Town Hall public hearing, nearly all of them opposed to creating a
commercial zoning district.
Leading the opposition were former Town Chairman Paul Kanter and
former Supervisor Clare Dundon, who have a combined 40 years’
experience in town government.
During their administration the town adopted the motto “A perfect
environment; residential, recreational, responsible” and established
itself as a high-end rural residential community with relatively
little commercial development despite the economic booms of the late
1990s and early 2000s.
“We worked very hard and diligently during those economic booms to
make sure we had development that everyone in the town could live
with,” said Dundon.
Former Delafield Town Chairman Paul Kanter and former
Town Supervisor Clare Dundon confer during a public
hearing about their opposition to a proposed commercial
zoning change in the town.
Kelly Smith/Special to The
‘This is a town’
“We are for the rural quality of life,” added Eric
Weidig, a 15-year resident of the town attending his
first Town Hall meeting.
“My wife and I moved here because of the residential
character. This is a town. It is not a city. It is not a
“There is no (municipal) sewer, there is no (municipal)
sewer,” he concluded.
However, a relatively recently-elected town chairman and
Board of Supervisors say they face some new challenges
that require a mixed-use zoning district.
The existing zoning code does not provide adequate
regulations for a 150-acre commercial development that
might be built on Thomas Farm after it’s sold, according
to town officials.
The family is trying to sell the farm that stretches
along Golf Road between Glen Cove and Elmhurst roads.
“Under the present zoning, it could be 150 acres of
retail,” according to Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald, an attorney, warns that because of changes
in state law the town needs to adopt a mixed-use code
that will enable it to regulate commercial, retail, and
In addition, Chairman Ron Troy says the town needs to
expand its tax base in order to generate more revenues
to pay for the rising cost of police, fire and emergency
medical services in the town.
Troy argues encouraging commercial development on town
frontage roads along the interstate can increase
property value in the town without threatening the rural
residential character of the remainder of the town.
Kanter and Dundon rebutted that more commercial
development will result in higher taxes to raise
revenues needed to fund government services for the
“Do not be mislead by the siren song of expanding the
tax base,” Kanter argued.
Town resident Kathy Gutenkunst, a lawyer who specializes
in local government law, expressed concerns about some
of the definitions of uses in the proposed code and
added that allowing high-density commercial residential
development in the town “scares me.”
Gutenkunst said she could support senior living
residential developments, but not apartments.
Denise Reese questioned why the farm land could not
become a high-end, large-lot residential development
like much of the town.
“I have always known the Thomas Farm would not always be
the Thomas Farm,” she said.
“But I thought what would go there would be houses like
mine,” she added.