Possibility of industrial growth in Waldo

by Abby Lynn Harvey of The Review staff

WALDO – Having to recuse himself of the position of Village President temporarily, Dan Schneider proposed an offer to purchase and develop a three-acre plot of land south of High Street at the Monday evening meeting of the Waldo Village board.

“What I’d like to do, DW Schneider Engineering would like to purchase a portion of that [village] land to put up a 15,000 square-foot industrial property,” Schneider said.

The engineering firm manufactures machinery for the paper industry and would like to move into a larger facility.

The land, which was originally purchased by the village for the development of the waste water treatment plant, is currently contracted out for agricultural use, though is not planted at this point.

“I personally would like to sell the property as inexpensive as we can, for the fact of receiving growth in the village,” said Trustee Mike Hintz.

The process of selling the land will have to move quickly as Schneider’s timetable is aggressive.

“Here’s our situation,” he said. “We’re growing, we’re in need of space. My intent is to be in this building in fall, so if it’s going to happen it has to go quick. If the board does’t believe that can happen that quickly then, I’ll be honest, I’m going to have to look at a different site because I have to make it happen.”

The board seemed unsure as to a fair asking price for the land and will seek a fair market value on the land before proceeding. A special meeting will be called and Schneider will present an offer to purchase.

However, other considerations must be made. The land is currently zoned agricultural, and will need to have a zoning change to allow for an industrial development.

Hintz suggested presenting the offer to purchase contingent upon rezoning, but Schneider was unhappy with that course of action.

“I would tell you, Mike, that until the zoning is changed to industrial /commercial, I don’t think I would buy it just in case,” he said. “I don’t want to be sitting with three acres of farm land, I’m not a farmer.”

A Plan Commission meeting will be called the address the zoning change to allow for a possible deal to be made between DW Schneider Engineering and the board at a special meeting before next month’s regular meeting.

Village Clerk/Treasurer John Port brought to the attention of the board yet another possible issue with the sale.

“You have an agricultural tenant, so we have to get some word to them soon if there’s going to any change to what is contracted to them,” he said. He went on to state that he’s sure they would be agreeable with the change.

Schneider expressed to the board the importance of this process going through all the correct channels to avoid any claims of conflict of interest.

“My concern is this, I don’t want there to be any feelings within the village that I got preferential treatment because I’m the president and I can write up that ofter to purchase and put in there what I think it’s worth but I’d hate for it to come back and say it’s twice what I offered, but I got it anyway. I don’t want that. I don’t want the headaches or hard feelings within the village, that’s my first concern,” Schneider concluded.

A special meeting concerning the purchase is tentatively set for Tuesday evening March 18.

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