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Mequon eyes properties for development, sewer service

June 27, 2012

Mequon - City officials are looking to rezone properties between Wauwatosa and Swan roads north of Donges Bay Road to allow for housing developments and the expansion of the city's sanitary sewer service area.

The Committee of the Whole met Tuesday to discuss how and where the city should encourage developments, ultimately deciding that the city's "central growth area" is the most likely place. The central issue is how the city will go about expanding sewer service into the area, and how that will be paid for.

"We need to figure out a way to do this where we're not going to impose a big cost on existing property owners that happen to fall within this area and aren't asking for it," Alderman John Wirth said. "We need to find a system that says you're going to pay if you want to take advantage of this, but you're not going to pay if you don't want to."

Committee members discussed whether the city would want to bear the costs of sewer infrastructure up front, or whether those costs should fall to developers as they buy and build in the area. Mayor Curt Gielow said that the city will need to approach the current land owners in the central growth area, including the Mequon-Thiensville School District, to see whether they would be interested in development.

"The School Board ought to be here and give their two cents at these meetings (going forward)," said Gielow.

The committee approved a tentative plan that would continue discussion on appropriate zoning in the central growth area, in whole or in part, and wouldn't put in the entire sewer infrastructure right away. Instead, the plan is to put in new sewer infrastructure on a phased basis at the request of developers.

The next step will be public outreach, as the city sends out notices to potentially affected land owners alerting them of a possible rezoning. The city will likely have informal open houses with land owners before formalizing the necessary zoning and land use amendments before having a public hearing on the subject sometime in the coming months.

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