County will defer to city on Ozaukee Square plan

Even though developer wants to purchase Administration Center lots, county won’t weigh in until Port makes decisions
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press staff

City of Port Washington officials last week approved a deal with the Village of Saukville that will open the 39-acre Schanen farm on the city’s west side for development.

Through the years, the property, which is directly east of Jackson Road, has been eyed for uses that included soccer fields, a baseball complex, housing and commercial development.

The idea of developing a satellite fire station on the land has also been discussed.

But due to a decades-long dispute over which community would best provide sewer services to the land, it has remained undeveloped.

Earlier this year, the communities reached an accord, with the city agreeing to pay the village $100,000 in four annual installments to have the land transferred into its sewer service area.

Aldermen on Nov. 1 approved a resolution adopting an amendment to the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission’s regional water quality management plan — a needed step to transfer the Schanen farm out of Saukville’s sewer service area and into the city’s jurisdiction.

No one spoke at a public hearing regarding the issue.

However, the deal isn’t finalized yet. The Village of Saukville needs to approve a similar resolution, and SEWRPC must approve it on Dec. 7, officials said.

In addition, the Department of Natural Resources needs to ink the deal, something that isn’t expected for another four to six months.

The Schanen farm has been in the Village of Saukville’s sanitary sewer area since 1983, when the Port-Saukville School District was considering using land across the street for a high school the city and village exchanged sewer service areas so the school could be served by the city.

The City of Port purchased the Schanen farm, which straddled both sides of Highway 33, in 2000, later selling the northern portion of the land to Bielinski Bros. for the Hidden Hills subdivision.

The city expected a soccer park and recreational complex to be built on the southern portion of the property, but the sewer issue got in the way.

The city, which would provide water to the site, said it was only logical it would provide sewer service, noting its sewer lines abutted the property.

But Saukville officials said they were prepared to service the property, an expensive proposition because of the distance the village would need to extend its lines.

Initially, the city offered to swap  some land in its sewer service district for the Schanen property, but the village declined the offer.

The city also talked to SEWRPC and the DNR about changing the sewer area, but to no avail.

When the soccer fields weren’t built, the city and Port Youth Baseball developed a plan in 2012 to create a baseball complex on the Schanen property, complete with the concession stand, walking trail and playground. Residential development would have been located around the perimeter of the fields and three commercial lots created along Highway 33.

With approval of the change imminent, the city is expected to have further discussion on future uses for the land, officials said.

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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