Covered Bridges plan pulled

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Kayla Bunge
Friday, December 21, 2007
— Williams Bay developer Robert Clemen temporarily has withdrawn his proposal for a subdivision on 140 acres in Walworth Township.

He said he probably won’t bring his proposal back to the county zoning committee until after the April election, as the face of the committee and the county board is sure to change. It also gives him more time to meet with people in the neighborhood.

“We just need to go through a period of interacting with the neighbors and then making sure they all understand what we really are doing,” Clemen said.

After a public hearing on the proposal Nov. 15, the committee tabled for 30 days Clemen’s application to rezone 140 acres in Walworth Township from A-2 agricultural to R-5A residential. The site is located east of County O and south of South Shore Drive.

Clemen’s original proposal called for 82 single-family homes and 60 two-family units on 90 acres in a conservation-style development called Covered Bridges. The remaining 50 acres would be open space and include a couple of miles of walking trails.

Members of the committee and those who spoke against the development at the public hearing cited density as their primary concern.

But in meeting with residents since then, “we learned some objections were different than what was being said in the meeting,” Clemen said.

Neighbors actually are more worried about traffic on South Shore Drive, he said. Clemen since has enlisted a traffic engineer to redesign the flow of traffic off that road.

People also voiced concern about the development’s effect on the water table. Clemen commissioned and now is awaiting the results of a United States Geological Survey hydrological study.

“We’re working to make sure that the recharge of rainwater back into the ground exceeds the withdrawal of our wells,” he said.

Clemen said he’s working closely with the state Department of Natural Resources and environmental groups to improve the project in terms of conservation and preservation.

Details would have been decided in the later stages of the platting process, but Clemen said he’s taking time to put them in writing now.

“The community’s shown a lot of interest in what happens in this area,” he said, “and … if people see we’re doing these things, they’ll be more likely to accept it.

“We’ll get that all done ahead of time, and they’ll have a higher comfort level that we really are going to do a great project out there.”

The first county zoning committee following the April 1 election is scheduled for April 17.

Darien Township land requries rezoning

The Walworth County Zoning Committee decided it was best not to petition the landowners or town officials any further regarding the required rezoning of two parcels of land in Darien Township.

“What goes around comes around,” committee Vice Chairman Alan Kupsik said. “When they come back here for a rezone, we’ll tell them they’re in violation (of the conditional-use permit). I don’t see wasting any more time and money.”

Two farm fields were zoned from prime agriculture to allow mining for clay:

-- A 26-acre field owned by MCHA on Highway 11 between Turtle Creek and Old Highway 89 was rezoned in 1989.

-- A 67-acre field owned by town Supervisor Daniel Boss on County Line Road south of Highway 11/14 was rezoned in 1999.

In the conditional-use permits for both properties, Walworth County required the land be zoned back to prime agriculture once the clay was removed. The clay now lines the Mallard Ridge Landfill on Highway 11. Neither property owner applied for A-1 rezoning.

In a last-ditch effort, the county zoning committee sent county Land Use and Resource Management Director Michael Cotter to Darien Township officials to request they approve rezoning the land.

They unanimously denied the request, arguing the land is no longer prime agriculture “and they can’t grow crops on it,”Cotter said.

Cotter and members of the committee are confident MCHA and Boss will request rezones in the future.

Last updated: 10:33 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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