EL board approves rezoning for Victory

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Victory Elkhart LLC’s latest plans for their property in the heart of the village cleared the first hurdle Monday.

Following a public hearing, the Village Board approved R-3 multi-family residential zoning with a planned unit development overlay for a six-acre parcel owned by Victory north of Maple Street and west of Moraine Drive.

Several residents spoke at the public hearing with concerns about the development, but Village President Alan Rudnick noted that the question at the hearing was only the zoning for the parcel and not any future plans or developments.

“We don’t know the scope of their project yet,” Rudnick told the audience. That will come before the Planning Commission at a future date, he added.

“My questions are primarily about the TIF (tax incremental finance district) that is being brought forth for this,” former Village President Peter Menne commented during the public hearing.

The property is within the boundaries of the village’s TIF District 2 and TIF funding could be used to pay for infrastructure for any development by Victory Elkhart.

“What does that cover? What would be paid for by the TIF? If this does not succeed, who’s responsible for paying off the TIF?” Menne asked.

“That would all be covered in the developer’s agreement (with Victory Elkhart), which we haven’t started yet,” Rudnick responded.

“I’ve seen too many situations in our area with great expectations and no results,” Menne commented. “If this thing would go south, we would be on the hook for the costs to the TIF and that would not be a good thing.”

Rudnick explained that the request before the board was simply to add another acre to the parcel which had previously been rezoned to multi-family. “It’s basically the same zoning but a little bigger with a PUD attached,” he said.

Moraine Drive resident Jean Greger asked how many more units could be built with the additional acre and how the plan fits in with the village’s comprehensive master plan.

“The comprehensive plan just has all residential and doesn’t distinguish between R-1, R-2 or R-3,” Village Administrator/ Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Reilly explained. She added that Victory Elkhart is now planning eight eight-unit buildings instead of the previous four 12-unit apartment buildings, an increase of 16 residential units.

When the board took up the issue of the rezoning, Trustee Michael Wolf noted that the original rezoning had included a provision that the multi-family rezoning would be rescinded if there is no development of the property by December 2016.

With the understanding that that provision remains in force, the board approved the rezoning unanimously.

The board, on a recommendation from the Community Development Authority, approved a $5,000 CDA loan to Off the Rail.

Rudnick explained that the restaurant in the old mill building will use the money to buy equipment that will enable them to move their take-out business to their lower level and out of the restaurant’s seating area.

“The consensus of the CDA was that they’re doing a fantastic job and if we could help them out, we should,” Rudnick said of Off the Rail’s request.

Rudnick reported that the CDA has joined Connect Communities, a program offered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to provide training and resources for local communities to revitalize their downtown areas.

Menne asked the board to consider naming the street extension to the Boy Scout that was part of the Sargento expansion project Camp LaBudde Lane. His request was referred to the Planning Commission.

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