Waldo industrial park plans delayed

by Rodney Schroeter of The Review staff

WALDO — Waldo Village President Dan Schneider announced to the rest of the board that he has withdrawn his offer to buy land from the village.

This effectively ends, for the time being, plans to establish a tax increment financing (TIF) district, and possible industrial park for Waldo, before those plans even had a chance to take form.

Schneider had asked the village to rezone about 50 acres from agricultural to industrial use. He had also offered to purchase about 3 acres from the village, at a price above what the village had paid for it.

In the month since the April board meeting where this was proposed, the board (with Schneider recusing himself) met in a special meeting on April 28 to discuss the proposal. Schneider investigated what would be required of him to get the project started. But what he found was not encouraging.

“When it was all said and done, the cost to improve that lot for a business was greater than I could bear on my own,” Schneider announced at the board’s May 12 meeting. “So I withdrew my offer to purchase based on two contingencies in the offer.” One was cost of bringing three-phase power to the property; the other was a utility cost.

The DNR, Schneider said, had required that he have “a storm water retention pond, which would have to go on the lowest adjacent grade to the property, which would have required me buying another two and a half to three acres. And if that retention pond was put on that piece of property, it needed to have a discharge for overflow. The discharge pipe would have pointed directly at Mr. Rommer’s back yard, which is the next lowest adjacent grade of the next property.”

With those costs and obstacles, “It no longer made sense for me to do it,” Schneider went on. He personally believes that a developer could come in create a viable project. “But I’m not a developer,” he said.

“I will tell everyone here that my intent is to still stay within the village,” Schneider said of his business plans. “I still believe that it’s critical to bring some industry and some growth into the village. I have hopes of bringing down the cost of living in the village. The way that’s going to be done is by bringing in industrial businesses, commercial businesses, and residential. We have to get the village to grow. We’ll get here one way or another.”

Invasive species presentation

Alex Rothstein of the volunteer organization Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium (SEWISC) gave a presentation on several invasive plant species affecting southeastern Wisconsin. Rothstein highlighted:

• Teasel, a tall grass with a head of seeds at the top

• Japanese knotwood, which can cause economic damage. Its bamboo-like stalks push right through asphalt and house foundations. Rothstein said that in the United Kingdom, a property found to have this plant would lose any market value.

• Common reed grass or Phragmites. Another tall grass.

• Wild parsnip, which has the greatest potential to cause human health problems. A person coming in contact with the plant, and then with sunlight, will develop first or second degree burns on the affected skin.

Schneider said the town would work with the county, which is responsible for roadside mowing, in helping to control these invasive species.

In other business, the board unanimously approved:

Requests from several individuals and organizations to use village facilities.

Renewing the village’s coverage with Burkart Insurance.

Developing a bid package for a public works project on Depot Street.

Passing an ordinance changing the zoning map, to cover a rezoning of property for Anita Klein.

Passing an ordinance clarifying the pay of the village clerk/treasurer, Michelle Brecht.

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