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Common Council moves apartment building plan forward
Boscobel City Hall

BOSCOBEL - A Boscobel apartment complex took another step toward construction on Monday, May 2.

At their May meeting, the council approved a developer’s agreement with County W Farm, LLC, owned by David Zirbel, who also owns the property where the apartments will be built.

Located between Elm Street and Sanders Creek on the north-west edge of town, the project includes five buildings, with eight apartments each. They would be built in phases, with the first phase consisting of one building with an estimated completion date of September 2022.

The project is a public-private venture, with the city’s portion funded by Tax Increment District (TID) 5. Zirbel would invest the up-front costs for site preparation and construction, estimated at $1 million.

The city has earmarked $200,000 for municipal costs including roads, parking lots, storm water management, and utility upgrades.

Each building would generate an estimated $15,216 in new taxes for the city. Under the rules of the TID, that money is earmarked for improvements within the designated district for the next 19 years.

On this project, 66 percent of that, or $10,000 per building, will be paid back to the developer during the life of the TID as an “incentive payment.”

Brown votes “no”

Roll call was briefly interrupted when city engineer Mike Reynolds questioned alderman Roger Brown’s lone vote against the project. Brown’s in-laws own Deb’s Flowers, which is adjacent to the property.

“Is that something you should consider abstaining from because of your personal relationships?” Reynolds asked.

Brown responded that he has no financial stake in the development.

“I guess my question is why you don’t think it’s good for the city to be doing this,” Reynolds said.

Brown said that he would discuss the matter in private. Reached by phone, Brown reiterated that he has no financial interest. 

“I voted no on this because for 15+ years, Zirbel has had these massive projects, and they never add up to anything. The lots just sit there and goes to weeds.”

The project has been delayed several times, but Reynolds said on Monday that he’s confident this time is different. 

“The guy was just in today and paid for his building permit and signed the developer agreement. He’s been advertising on Facebook and has the first building half-filled already. If he gets the first one full, he’s going to go right ahead and build the second.”

City attorney Ben Wood said that he had not been asked to advise the council on a conflict of interest for Brown.

Another lead pipe

In his report to the council, city engineer Reynolds said that workers had found an additional lead pipe during the street construction. The pipe was on the city’s portion of the water line, and it has not yet been determined if it extends to the homeowner’s side. The city has set aside funding to assist homeowners in replacing their lead pipes. 

Reynolds estimated that there were four pipes needing replacement on the project.

In other council news, the city approved the following items:

• Closing the alley behind city hall and the Pour House for a fundraiser on May 20-22.

• Closing Buchanan Street from Wisconsin Avenue to Grove Street for BMZ Vacation Bible School on July 31-August 4.

• A new computer software and services contract with Civic System.

• Moving several of the concrete planters from Wisconsin Avenue to Highway 61.

• Allowing food trucks and other vendors to park on city parking lots and parking spaces with a permit costing $25 per day.

• Hiring Steve Wetter as parttime airport caretaker with a wage of $16 a hour and a limit of 900 hours per year.

• Holding the July 6 council meeting at the airport so council members can attend the hamburger fly-in.