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Split council OKs deal for marina area condos development PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:11

nTwo new aldermen vote against agreement for development on car, boat trailer lot city plans to sellby city

Ozaukee Press staffA developer’s agreement between the City of Port Washington and architect Stephen Smith, who plans to build 11 townhouses on the city-owned car-trailer parking lot at the east end of Washington Street, was approved Tuesday night.

It wasn’t a unanimous decision, however. Aldermen John Sigwart and Mike Gasper voted against the agreement.

Gasper said that before the city sells the parking lot, it needs to do something to replace the boat-trailer parking that will be lost.

“My concern is we’re doing this in the wrong order,” Gasper said. “We really need to be replacing that parking before we do this project.”

Other aldermen argued that taxes generated by the improvement can be used to pay for improvements like reconfiguring the marina parking lot to handle additional boat trailers.

The project, known as Lakepointe Townhomes, is expected to pay for itself — making up for an estimated $300,000 in utility costs and remediation work —  in roughly three years, they said, by generating $77,000 annually in taxes.

The developer’s agreement approved Tuesday sets forth the conditions under which the sale of the parking lot and development of the townhouses will be allowed.

It calls for the city to move two sewer mains — one of which will remain on the property while the other is moved into the street — and to pay to remediate the soils on the land.

That cost is expected to be minimal, City Administrator Mark Grams said, because the only soils expected to need remediation are those disturbed by footings for the three townhouse buildings, since they won’t have basements.

Smith is expected to buy the property for $140,000 by July 17, and the agreement requires that construction begin within six months or the city can buy the land back.

Amy Otis-Wilborn, 233 Pier St., questioned the sale price, calling it “outrageous,” especially since the city will still be paying for the utility work and remediation.

Ald. Dave Larson disagreed, saying the $140,000 sale price is significantly more than other communities are getting for prime properties. He noted that the City of Mequon purchased a former gas station, remediated the land and then sold it for $1 to facilitate development of Cafe Hollander.

Similarly, Ald. Doug Biggs said, the Village of Grafton paid roughly $1 million for the Lumberyard property and then sold it for $1 for development.

“This is a prime piece of real estate,” Larson said. “Once you factor in the additional costs the city has to incur, we’re looking at a payback period of three years.

“I think it’s a fantastic project. Everyone wins with this one.”

Biggs concurred, saying the townhouses fit the site and blend with the aesthetics of Port Washington.

“This one felt right. I’m excited about this project,” he said.

Smith said there is a significant amount of interest in the townhouses, adding one unit has already been spoken for.

He said he expects to bring final plans for the development to the Plan Commission for approval in June.

Although the property is in Port Washington’s tax incremental financing district, Smith is not seeking any incentives for the project.

The development is expected to add $4.3 million to the city’s tax base.

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