Lapicola says village needs to take lead in energizing housing market
Fredonia Village President Chuck Lapicola told the villageâ€™s Economic Development Committee last week that it is time to become proactive in trying to bring growth to the community.
The mere fact that the economic committee hadnâ€™t met since January 2010 underlined Lapicolaâ€™s point that little has been done recently to encourage local
He said he would like to shake that lethargy, calling for a meeting with developers and builders to brainstorm about ideas.
Lapicola said he already has one notion he would like the committee to explore â€” offering a $2,000 reduction in impact fees for new home construction.
A new homeowner faces about $2,800 in impact fees, including $1,083 for parks, $1,037 for water, $366 for police and $235 for fire services.
Lapicola said the money for the incentive could come from the villageâ€™s Economic Development Fund, which has a balance of more than $114,000.
â€śWe could take the first step. By reducing our fees, it could encourage an electrician or other contractor to cut their fees and the developer could charge less for a lot, too,â€ť he said.
â€śWe need to have something we are offering before we ask them to give up a piece of their pie.â€ť
Lapicola said the lost fees would quickly be recovered by the taxes the village could collect if a new home is built in the community.
Trustee Don Dohrwardt said the fee discount was worth exploring and not unprecedented.
â€śIt is the same as what we do in the industrial park, selling land at a discounted price if they agree to build in our TIF (tax incremental financing) district,â€ť Dohrwardt
Trustee Scott Ehaney, chairman of the committee, agreed the fee discount was worth considering, but initially only on a 12-month trial basis.
Ehaney said the fee discount could be put into effect in January, so that it would be in place in time for the start of next yearâ€™s construction season.
The committee agreed to outline the impact fee credit during a meeting with local developers and contractors, tentatively set for some time in September.
The committee also mulled ways to attract businesses and new homes to the village.
â€śWe need to get the word out that we are not a stagnant community. We are continuing to make improvements,â€ť Lapicola said, pointing to plans for the
reconstruction of Fredonia Avenue and enhancement of the park system.
â€śFifty years out, I think Highway 57 will be our retail district and Fredonia Avenue will be a feeder street. If we could encourage just one new business to build in that corridor, it could be the first piece of the puzzle,â€ť Lapicola said.
â€śI wish we could have attracted Walmart, but they decided to stay in Saukville. What we need to get is something that no one else in the area has, like a Dollar
General discount store or a major truck stop.â€ť
Lapicola said the village should also review the requirements it places on businesses looking to build in the community. As an example, he said it was â€śstupidâ€ť to
require so much green space on lots in the industrial park.
â€śA lot of our ordinances need to be massaged to be more welcoming to business, while still not letting just anything go,â€ť Lapicola said.
â€śI think we will can be successful at attracting business to our community by not trying to be Grafton and not trying to be Mequon â€” just being Fredonia.â€ť