Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Will Sho-Deen benefit Delavan Township, or ruin it?

With the decision last week to delay a vote on the Sho-Deen residential development in the town of Delavan until after the election April 3, the issue is now a full-blown campaign topic.

Few argue that Jackson Creek, a residential development project proposed by Sho-Deen Development, would dramatically transform Delavan Township and its neighboring communities.

The latest plan proposes 3,357 single-family homes and 1,411 multi-family units on roughly 2,000 acres of land surrounding the Delavan Lake inlet.

The question becomes, is that good or bad?

Town of Delavan supervisor Larry Malsch lays out his perspective below as a companion to his letter to the editor in the March 18 edition of the Week.

Click here to add your comments.

~Dan Plutchak, editor


Anonymous Larry Malsch said...

Over the past several weeks, I have received several telephone calls and have talked with a lot of people about the Sho-Deen Development proposal, and it appears to be a lot of misconception and misleading information about this project.

Yes, the Sho-Deen project is the largest that the town of Delavan, Walworth County and probably the state of Wisconsin has seen in a single development proposal. But their proposal is not an "over night" proposal, it is a proposal that is spread out over a 30-year time period. They proposed to develop their land in phases, to build X number of units in a given time frame -- not all at once.

The homes they plan to develop and/or build have a wide price range that would be acceptable to many different people and families, the size of the homes would be a choice of the buyer, the amount of maintenance involved with that purchase would be the choice of the buyer as it would be in any market.

At the Jan. 30, 2007 town of Delavan Planning Commission meeting, eleven conditions were approved for this development. If and when the town board acts on this proposal, the town board could add to or amend these eleven conditions, which are listed below: Some of the below are not word for word, but rather a summary of conditions.

1, At the end of Valencia Drive, there would be no multi-family units and only up to 50 units per the R2 zoning will be permitted.
2. That the organic soils in Areas O and P will not be built upon without SEWRPAC and DNR approval for sewer extensions and town engineering approval for the installation of required infrastructure like roads and storm water detention and filtration. The potential lot or unit reduction is about 553-663.
3. Multi-family units will not exceed 6 units per commission and board approval shall be conditioned upon completion of a detailed traffic impact study. Cost sharing for improvements in infrastructure required outside the development area shall be negotiated as part of the developer agreement. This includes , but not limited to Highways 11, 50, 67, 43 and Theatre Road and Town Hall Road and Mound Road and Highway F.

I commend Town Chairman Pelletier for introducing these conditions, with some minor amendments by the commission, as these represent what is in the best interest of the Town.

From my personal observation of the zoning for this development, it appears that about one-third of this project already has R2 zoning. Walworth County R2 zoning is for single-family residence district (sewered) and the minimum lot area is 15,000 square feet and width is a minimum of 100 feet.

It appears that the majority of the proposed development land remaining would need to be rezoned.

NOTE: The Town of Delavan does not have the zoning authority to change or to recreate new zoning districts. Zoning authority is vested with Walworth County.

So while the overall development may not appear appealing, you have to look at this project as it is projected over a 30-year period. The two school districts have looked at this development and the their time table and they did not foresee too much opposition to the plan.

Going on eight years as an elected official and having served on both the city and the town Planning Commissions during this time, I have never seen a Developer bring to the table as much information as Sho-Deen has nor has any other developer offered as much incentives as they have.

The Town needs to cooperate and to work with Sho-Deen or any developer that comes before it to 1. Develop land within the Town that is in the best interest of the Town, 2. Have a Developer's Agreement that is in our best interest, 3. Work with any developer that has property that could affect Delavan Lake to maintain what is best for the lake and most of all, 4. Avoid the loss of Town property to annexation, which would result in the loss of our tax base and any proposed development could still be there without any benefit or control by the Town.

Development is here. Walworth County is growing and yes we're losing some prime land but who would of thought 10 years ago that in our community/area, that we would have a Wal-Mart, Kohls, Lowes, look at the Delavan Crossings, etc., that we have developers and investors wanting to come to Walworth County and the Town of Delavan to build.

There are many of us that don't like change and we'd like to keep our rural setting and unique community, but after living here my whole life and working here, I have seen first hand the changes, have they all been bad? No, did they benefit the community, I'd have to say Yes. We have to be open minded and fair to everyone.

Larry Malsch
Supervisor, Delavan Township

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want an area thats like a
Chicago suburb fine but thats why I moved here to get away from the rat race even ten years ago there was no rush hour in Delavan look what we have now with all this added population it will be one big traffic mess and I guess I will go further north Mike

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please research the Sho-Deen, Mill Creek development in Geneva, Illinois. Note the pains it caused and is still causing that community.

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a 10-year resident of Mill Creek in Geneva, I'd be interested to hear of the "pains it has caused and is still causing the community". Mill Creek is GORGEOUS and a wonderful place to raise a family. Also a multiple award-winning and nationally recognized development!

4:01 PM  

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