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Wisconsin Wit

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mailbag; Mr. Connors Writes; On Past Development

(Ed.note: I requested Mr. Connors to comment on the audios and videos on The Observer by MSA Joe DeYoung as well as Mr.Sauer that say "Flooding is what was expected". I essentially wanted to know who knew what when.)

"By the time that the development group led by Roger Berg was seeking to annex and plat the Westfield Meadows subdivision, the city had heard there might be water problems in that area. We heard a lot about these potential water problems during Mr. Abey's disagreement with the Town of Union over the annexation of the small Southgate subdivision. I think the first round of big floods just west of the Abey-Koth subdivision took place around that time. At any rate, the city asked the developers to provide data to show there was not a flooding risk in the area of the proposed subdivision. MSA demonstrated that to us satisfactorily, but in the process of investigating that issue they produced a model that showed there was a risk of flooding in the next to last phase of the Abey-Koth subdivision (S. 6th St. north of Vision). The city attempted to address this risk by allowing the same development group to annex land north of Porter Road and build a
large storm water detention facility. That facility was completely unnecessary for the Westfield Meadows subdivsion and the annexed land north of Porter Road. The city required it only to help mitigate the risk of flooding in the Abey-Koth subdivision. The city required Roger Berg's development group to pay for this storm water detention facility even though they had nothing to do with the Abey-Koth subdivision it was designed to protect.

I was not city administrator at the time the Abey-Koth subdivision was platted, so I have no idea if anyone examined the storm water management issue. I think that subdivision was platted before Foth & Van Dyke became the city's engineer. It appears whoever was advising the city about the Abey-Koth subdivision did not do a good job.

Regarding TID No. 5, if that is the downtown TID, you are correct that the city was hoping tax increment would pay the debt service on borrowing for public infrastructure projects the city likely would have done anyway because they desparately needed to be done. To the best of my recollection, the only redevelopment agreement in TID No. 5 that required the developer to make the city whole if the redeveloped property did not increase in value as much as projected was for the Coach House on N. Madison St. We did enforce that provision, although Chris Eager on the RDA board was critical of me for placing the provision in the agreement and enforcing it--he suggested I took advantage of Roger Berg by doing so. I was amused by the thought that anyone, let alone me, could take advantage of Roger Berg. There might have been some provision like that in the redevelopment agreement for the downtown Ace Hardware building, but I do not remember being involved
in negotiating that redevelopment agreement.

My only comment about the location of the senior center is that Baker Manufacturing has thrived on the other side of the creek for many decades despite the risk of flooding.

Feel free to post this on your blog."

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