Kewaskum, WI – Neighbors packed the upper-level chambers at the Kewaskum Plan Commission meeting this week as a public hearing was held on a developer’s request to rezone several single family lots to multifamily in the Kettle Kountry Estate subdivision.
The subdivision is located on the north side of Highway 28 on the south edge of the Town of Kewaskum. Those in the subdivision collectively expressed the proposal to rezone 14 lots would violate their written covenant.
Public comments, limited to 3 minutes a person, are bullet pointed below.
Homeowner Ben Shiller – opposed the rezoning. I moved to single family home in a single-family subdivision and with a covenant for single family. With the changing of the zoning it would take away from our resale value and this just isn’t what we want. We did circulate a petition and almost every homeowner signed they are against a rezoning.
Property owner Jim Geiger – My wife and I believe the design of this area was for single family homes. I believe it should stay that way. I don’t think your decision should be all about economics. You should respect people in the subdivision.
Homeowner Eric Krall – I want to keep it single family, that’s why we moved there.
Homeowner Paul Sebo – I’m not opposed to finishing the subdivision as a single-family development. I am against the rezoning. We have a set of covenants, and they are recorded with the Register of Deeds. This is situational zoning. This in not like any rezoning that has happened in the village. It doesn’t make sense for this type of rezoning. If passed, my fear is the developer Gary Gavin will later change his mind and make the single family to duplexes. What is the agreement between the Village and the town of Kewaskum. The board originally approved this as a single-family development.
Developer Gary Gavin – This subdivision has been sitting since 2005. I understand concerns of neighbors. I don’t believe a duplex will diminish their value. All lots have been laid out and plotted; I’m not going to change anything. The feasibility of … if it stays single family it will stay empty forever. The $27,000 I paid for this… if it doesn’t go, that’s fine.
Terry V – Came into subdivision a long time ago. I only want a single-family subdivision. Those on the end … this will hurt them.
Woman who lives on Drumline – I’m lot 28 – which would be next to lot 29. Whether you go with this, it’s up to you guys. It won’t hurt my house or my valuation.
Adam Widmeyer – I would never have bought if it would change to multifamily. Not a precedent I want to set.
After the public hearing the Plan Commission noted “Staff is recommending the rezoning to multifamily.”
There was about 30 minutes of thorough discussion including: the average value of a home in Kettle Kountry Estates (about $395,800), paying for the completion of the road, Gavin said all the duplexes would be owner occupied and abide by the setback regulation.
A crux of the discussion came when Plan Commission member Richard Laubach asked, “Is there some kind of rush to get this done? It’s been sitting for over a decade.”
Village President Martin- “We have a shortage of homes in the village.”
Laubach – “You will find a shortage everywhere.”
Brett Klapper chimed in – “A majority of people here are against it. There’s been discussions about the road. Don’t have to put duplexes in if they don’t want it.”
Laubach – “Very well said.”
Another back-and-forth came when commission members talked about their homes.
Laubach – “I bought my lot in 2002; the lot was laid out. We knew this all ahead of time. Now we’re asking these people to change this midstream.”
Brett Klapper – “People started building in 2008 or 2009. If we put duplexes in now the interest rate is 8%.”
Laubach – “You wouldn’t have built your house if you knew there would be a duplex next to you.”
Chad Cook – “I chose my property wisely.”
Then a loud comment came from the crowd, “So did we.”
After voting unanimously 5 – 0 (Gina Raether and Randy Schickert were absent) the Plan Commission will now make a recommendation and the issue will go to the full Village Board on November 6, 2023.10 24 2023 Public Hearing - Gavin Rezone A1338201 - dec amd 2