Sho-Deen's subdivision drops to 4,768 homes

Company making changes to please town officials, residents

By Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Jan. 4, 2007, 11:38 a.m.)

Since introducing a residential development plan that included 6,000 housing units in August 2005, Sho-Deen Construction has since eliminated close to 1,230 addresses from its conceptual drawings.

Unveiled last month at a town plan commission meeting, Sho-Deen's Jackson Creek development includes 3,357 single-family homes and 1,411 multi-family units on roughly 2,000 acres of land surrounding the Delavan Lake inlet. The plans also include several parks, three schools and a village center commercial plaza.

The prices for the condominiums and houses would range from $180,000 to $600,000 if sold in today's market, said Sho-Deen President David Patzelt. The development, however, is expected to take 20 years to complete, if it receives approvals from the town and county.

"I support this project," said town Chairman John Pelletier. "I support keeping it in the town and not letting it be annexed into the city of Elkhorn or Delavan."

Pelletier feels it best to keep development in the town so it can benefit from increased tax dollars.

"It's a question of in whose community does it ultimately wind up in?" Pelletier said. If it's ever annexed, "We'll be left with all the headaches without a single opportunity for a benefit and I think that's wrong. The town would be crazy to allow that to happen without doing anything it can to keep it in the town of Delavan."

Sho-Deen's property lies roughly between Highway 50, Mound Road, Interstate 43, Highway 67, Theater Road and Town Hall Road, entirely in the town of Delavan.

The project has certainly had its supporters, but it also has had a large number of opponents since its announcement more than a year ago.

Sho-Deen's plans have been questioned and criticized heavily throughout the process by both citizens and town officials alike.

Many residents are worried about strains on the town's infrastructure, increased traffic, the ability to maintain adequate police and fire protection, effects on taxes, the number of children in area schools, groundwater supply capacities, possible increased pollution and use of Delavan Lake and more.

The sheer size of the development, which could bring in upward of 11,000 new residents, has frightened many. A petition last summer contained more than 1,000 signatures of area residents opposing the development.

The latest plans Sho-Deen had, which included renderings of neighborhoods, streets, schools and commercial areas, will be discussed again at the Jan. 11 plan commission meeting. An official agenda was not yet prepared.

Pelleteir expected time for public comments and questions and a heavy dose of questioning by commission members. He didn't expect any votes to take place.

The newest plans are without a resort hotel and golf course, which were shown surrounding the inlet in earlier renderings. That area will be kept as "green space."

Also gone is a business park on about 60 acres between Interstate 43 and Marsh Road. A road connection to Valencia Drive, which sparked much opposition from residents living along the street, was also eliminated, Patzelt said.

While Sho-Deen rearranged areas for multi-family development, the proposal calls for 10.5 units per acre. Township planner Carolyn Esswein, principal at Planning and Design Institute, favored a density of eight to 10 units per acre.

Another sticking point could be lot sizes of some of the homes. County zoning requires 15,000 square feet per lot on standard zoning. Substandard lots can be 7,500 square feet. About 15 percent of the lots are below 7,500 square feet, Patzelt said.

"Would a new zoning category need to be created at the county level because their design does not fit with any of the current county zoning options?" Esswein asked.

Patzelt said the developer and the town will likely never be 100 percent in agreement with the plans, but it's time to move forward with votes on the concepts. Plans have changed since their inception and they will continue to change with market demand as the project rolls along, he added.

"We have agreed to disagree," on some issues, Patzelt said. "We've come a long way. I don't want to sound bull-headed or stuck up, but I think it's unfortunate that some of the plans have (already) been compromised. But sometimes you have to move on and work with what you've got.

"We've been in this process now. It's been well over a year. It's time that we start getting some decisions."


If you go:

The next town of Delavan Planning Commission is 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11 at the Community Park Building on South Shore Drive. Commissioners and Sho-Deen officials will likely take comments, questions and suggestions from the public at that time.



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