VIDEO | Hartford Plan Commission approves annexation and residential development design

January 12, 2021 – Hartford, WI – Two major development issues were discussed Monday night at the City of Hartford Plan Commission meeting.

On a vote of 6 – 1 with Dennis Regan dissenting, the Plan Commission approved annexing from the Town of Hartford into the City approximately 283 acres located north of the Rubicon River and south of Clover Road.  The parcel includes the Washington County Golf Course and Family Park.

During a 15-minute discussion city planner Justin Drew indicated the County would still run the golf course and Family Park would be developed into residential.

Although the council chambers had about 30 neighbors in attendance, none spoke during a public comment portion of the meeting as many were from the Town of Hartford and only City residents were allowed to comment, per Mayor Tim Michalak.

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After the annexation passed Alderman Joe Kohler asked Drew if anyone had expressed interest in developing the property. Drew said “no.”

A public hearing on the Smart Growth Plan is set for January 26, 2021 at 7 p.m. as an amendment to the plan is considered.

The proposed executive summary for the annexation petition indicates, “The proposed annexation would allow the residential development of Family Park and serves the need of the petitioner (Washington County). In addition, the annexation makes future annexations in this portion of the City’s growth area easier to accomplish.

Note the zoning of that parcel would also need to be changed to meet the requirements for residential development. According to the executive summary, “The Smart Growth Plan currently calls for park development. The annexation petition is accompanied by a request to amend the Smart Growth Plan to allow for residential development in the Family Park area.”

Hartford Plan Commission

The second major item on the agenda was for the approval of a concept plan for mixed-use residential on North Main Street north of the Pheasant Run Town subdivision.

The proposal included development of 87 single family lots and 74 two-family duplex units.

Hartford residential development

The crux of the discussion, led by Dennis Regan and Ald. Joe Kohler focused on the density and layout of the proposed development.

“If we can reduce the duplexes and make it more amenable to property owner to the north,” said Regan.

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“I’m with Dennis; I don’t disagree the multifamily but is there a better layout,” said Kohler.  “Let’s not put 100 people up by that farm. Let’s see what we can do to accommodate everyone. Can we spread it around.”

Scott Hanke mentioned his first house was on Rural Street where, initially, not a lot of people lived.

Ralph Kuepper also noted the change in population as the City of Hartford has grown over the years from 6,000 and now 16,000. “We’ve made subdivision decisions before,” he said.

The discussion then shifted to who the subdivision would attract. Were homeowners looking for larger lots and more space or would this be more attractive to millennials.

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“I understand what millennials are looking for,” said Michalek. “We’re looking at individuals who are taking jobs. New home owners are looking for a different lifestyle; a home to keep stuff and they don’t want to cut grass or need room.”

Kohler said his concern was for the property owners that were already living in the area. “We’re just asking to make it in more palatable than just blasting them,” he said.

Ralph Kuepper said, “I look at people taking care of other people’s lots and larger lots are not in demand.”

A role call vote was taken and the proposed design passed 4 – 3.

Voting yes – Scott Hanke, Ralph Kuepper, Tim Michalek, and Tony Andereck

Voting no – Joe Kohler, Dennis Regan, and Tom Stapleton.

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