SHULLSBURG — At the Shullsburg City Council meeting Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Mayor Gloria Swenson expanded the council’s response to the opinions by Attorney Paul Johnson, regarding the McCoy development covenants.
1 – Johnson recommended the plan have three units per acre. Swenson responded already agreed with the density requirement of three units per acre. (The TIF money that will be used for the development states there must be three units per acre or TIF money cannot be used)
2 – Zoning issues. Swenson – city will adapt a new zoning plan for the McCoy Development that will allow for single family residential and two unit condos.
3 – The question of the manner in which the property is to be gifted to the city, with the city having the responsibility of enforcing the covenants and selling the lots. Swenson – the attorney was not aware of the fact that earlier opposition was presented by individuals regarding development of the property without having ownership. Both parties have now agreed, that ownership by the city prior to the development is the best course of action. The enforcement of the covenants by the city is agreeable and can be accomplished by the council action.
4 – Questions of city selling lots and how will a realtor be compensated. Swenson – Buyers of an individual lot ($1 per lot) will be required to make a $5,000 deposit to the city at the time of closing. The deposit will be held by the city until the buyer has constructed the basement, at which time the city will refund the $5,000 deposit. Individuals or entities wishing to purchase multiple lots, will be limited to six lots in a calendar year and be required to deposit $5,000 for each lot bought. Buyers wishing to buy specific lots will be required to deposit $5,000 prior to closing. The general sale of lots will otherwise be conducted on a first come first serve basis. Selling lots for $1 should be the only incentive to promote the sale of lots, so no realtor will be needed.
5 – Questions Homeowners’ Association (HOA). Swenson – both parties are aware prior to a lot sale, that bylaws for the HOA will be in-place. Buyers will be aware of the rules that must be agreed to prior to closing. Buyers will need to sign documents stating they agree with the bylaws.
6 – Maintenance of grass along fence line. Swenson – this is controlled by our existing ordinance11.09 control of weeds and grasses and mowing required.
7 – Years the covenants are enforced. Swenson – The covenants will be recorded with the deed. Any present or subsequent owner of a lot in the McCoy Development may peruse enforcement of these restrictions and covenants and enforcement shall be by proceeding at law or inequity against any person or persons violating or attempting to violate any covenant or restriction. Enforcement may be used to restrain violation of the covenants or restrictions or to recover damages. The covenants empower property owners to govern their neighborhood in the agreed upon terms contained on their deed.
8 – The requirement of construction of home will begin within twelve months of sale - it should be from the date of closing. Swenson – agreed.
9 – Can homes have more that a two car garage? Swenson - Attorney is correct home may have more than a two car garage. Wording should state a minimum of a two car garage.
10 – Each two family condominium should each have their own service (water, sewer). Swenson – We agree that each condo unit must have their own sewer and water lateral. Must have a one-hour firewall and no common walls.
11 - Setback. Swenson – new zoning ordinance will address this.
12 – Enforcement of parking on private property. Swenson – We agree with the attorney, it would be difficult to enforce the covenants on parking restrictions on private property. But, we wish to maintain the language in an attempt to prevent prolong parking. Towing vehicles from private property is not recommended. But these restrictions will provide a means for removal.
13 – Does a pool need a fence connected to a locking gate? Swenson – yes, this is covered by our current ordinance.
14 – Type and height of fence allowed. Swenson – this is spelled out in the covenant.
15 – Are garage sale signs permitted? Swenson – Yes, signs are limited to one week and must be removed after the garage sale is complete. Residence are limited to hosting two garage sale per calendar year.
20 & 21 – Who enforces these covenants? Swenson – the seated council will be in charge of enforcing the covenants. The council will contact the violator and if the issue is not resolved the matter will be taken to the court system.
Emmitt Reilly asked, “How did you come up with these responses?” Swenson answered, “We had a citizen advisory committee work on these.” Reilly asked again, “Who does that consist of?” Swenson answered,, “Tom Lethlean, Wayne Gerht, Dwayne Wedige, Jim Paquette and myself.” Reilly, “I was not aware of this meeting, did some of these responses come from a lawyer?” Swenson, “No.” Reilly, “You didn’t consult any lawyers or make a phone call?” Swenson, “No. We just had the opinion of Attorney Johnson.” Reilly said, “For the record, there are a couple points that I’d like to make. If we were to accept the land from the McCoys, there should be no covenants. The city should just accept the land with no restrictions. I have a concern regarding conflict of interest. I also have a concern about the $5,000 deposit when you buy a lot for $1. I understand why the group put that in there, but you didn’t consult with the council.” Reilly continued, “Someone with money, like McCoys, could buy all the lots for $1 and make the deposits and get all the infrastructure for free. There’s no restriction for that.” Lathlean answered, “There’s a limit of six lots that may be bought.” Swenson said, “They would need to build within a year of closing.” Reilly, “But they could do that. Anyone in that group could buy six lots.” Unison answer, “Anyone could.”
Gerht interjected regarding the advisory committee, “Jack McCoy chose the group to represent him here and there’s no problem with the public having to know that. I don’t see any conflict of interest.” Reilly making his final point, “I know I’m not in the majority opinion, but I feel the only way we should accept the property is with no restrictions and if we were to develop it at city’s expense there really needs to be a referendum.” Alder Cory Ritterbusch said, “There’s no financial burden to the citizens. The project will be paid for by the TIF.”
A document prepared by Gary L. Peterson, AICP was reviewed. The report showed the economic feasibility of the McCoy project. The amended TIF #7 showed that the projected costs of the McCoy Development will be $1,306,070, all eligible to be paid by TID funds. The projected revenue created by TID #7 over the next fourteen years according to the Peterson document will be $1,811,868. A motion was made to have Attorney Johnson give a legal opinion regarding if the amendment presented by Atty. Peterson – if the amendment meets state law. Approved 3-1, with Reilly voting no. Reilly thought the report was a rosy outlook.
Gerht said, “Regarding Emmitt's comment about the report being rosy. It doesn’t need to be rosy, if you don’t figure interest or growth (like the report does) there still is enough money to cover the project.” Stan Woodworth said, “The TIF has been showing increases even though we have just gone through the biggest downturns that our country has seen and we’re still seeing increased values. These are not rosy, pie-in-sky numbers, these are numbers that are realistic.” Leathan proved the point by showing what was projected in 2010 for 2017. “You need to be fiscally responsible for this city and this project does that,” Woodword finished.
Swenson said she attended the Economic development meeting last week. “A point was made by Bob Jones, the new economic Development Director of Lafayette County, that one of Lafayette County’s problems is there is a need for qualified workers. The reason we don’t have qualified workers is there is no housing for them,” said Swenson.
In other business:
A public hearing was held at the beginning of the meeting to rezone the Geissbuhler Subdivision from R1 – new single family residential to RM – new single family medium density residential. No one spoke at the hearing and Swenson closed the meeting. At the regular meeting the city council adopted the ordinance that put the new rezoning into effect.
The council approved a resolution authorizing interim borrowing from Clare Bank not to exceed $900,000 at 1.99%. This will be used for the 2017 street construction project for Iowa, Oates & Estey Streets.
Approved hiring on-site consulting services for the wastewater treatment facility by MSN Consulting, LLC of Green Bay. In the amount of $200 per hour.
Approved the 2016 budget amendments and approved the designated fund balance.
Comments – It was asked if the McCoy lots have been checked for rock. Will a house be able to be built without running into solid rock? He was assured that Delta 3 has done borings and that would not be a problem.
Committee reports: Library - Ritterbusch reported Virginia Grossen has been moved from interim director to full-time Library Director of the McCoy Library.
Approved bills in the amount of $46,780.