May 21, 2019 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend Common Council unanimously approved a change for 62.7 acres on the south end of town during its Monday night meeting. The change from industrial to M-2 heavy industrial upset a number of neighbors who live close to the River Road property in the High Ridge Trail area just south of Rusco Road.
A public hearing had been held on May 7 as the Plan Commission reviewed the proposal. Neighbors expressed their concern during that meeting and also addressed the council on Monday night prior to its vote.
Patrick Falkowski lives on High Ridge Trail in West Bend. He fought the comments about zoning, saying the land was used for farming. City Director of Development Mark Piotrowicz offered a correction saying the land was currently zoned industrial.
Falkowski made the point that the High Ridge Trail subdivision was made up of 37 single-family homes ranging in value from $250,000 – $400,000 and he felt the change in property to the south would affect their property values and the character of the neighborhood.
An emotional Nathan Schneumann also spoke before the council about his concerns with regard to changing from temporary to permanent M-2 Heavy Industrial.
District 4 alderman Chris Jenkins spoke to the neighbors on High Ridge Trail prior to the council’s vote. “I understand what you’re going through,” he said. “As someone who lives closer to industrial than anyone else up here…. we have not had a problem with it. We really haven’t. I know you feel it’s right in your back yard but you have a lot of buffer there than I do. We just have never had an issue. It’s not that I don’t understand, I live it every day … but I can’t fathom a scenario where No. 1 it’s an issue or that the city doesn’t do its due diligence.”
Jenkins went on to make a motion to approve, it was quickly seconded by Dist. 6 alderman Steve Hoogester and the motion passed 7-0.
After the vote about 15 neighbors from High Ridge Trail left the meeting upset.
Eric Weckwerth said he was mostly concerned about “what may come” to the area. “What may come is a development that has with it an impact on the quality of life we have,” he said. “We chose that area to live because it was in close proximity to West Bend, yes it was zoned industrial by the Town of Trenton but it was not receiving any services and Trenton was not talking about running any services to allow that kind of expansion they’re talking about so that would have been small individual properties and not large-scale heavy industrial.”
Weckwerth worried about large industrial that may need compressors that run 24-7 and possibly round-the-clock lighting. “You’re going to have vehicle traffic and possibly metal stamping that can cause noise, light, sight pollution and it may impact our wells, property value and quality of life,” he said.
In a previous meeting the Plan Commission had recommended, on a vote of 4-3, against the permanent rezoning.