Plan Commission recommends approval of two requests for annexation
Two requests from town of Hull land owners for annexation into the city of Stevens Point were recommended for approval by the Stevens Point Plan Commission during its regular meeting Monday, Dec. 7.
The first was a request from Mark Erwin to annex his storage unit business at 1230 Second St., Stevens Point (the property has a Stevens Point street address, but is located in the town of Hull).
“This item has been before us before relating to the comprehensive plan future land-use map to classify this territory as a commercial-type use for the city’s land-use map,” said Michael Ostrowski, director of Community Development. “It has been submitted to the state, and they found that it is in the public interest for the annexation to occur. It’s contiguous to the city and staff would recommend approval.”
However, the town of Hull has had legal issues with the property in the past and currently has litigation pending.
“No matter what the Commission decides today, there are going to still be some issues that remain,” said Robert Konkol, a local attorney with the Anderson Law Firm representing the town of Hull. There still remains issues that impact the right-of-way on North Second Street.”
In the event of a significant storm, there are areas of the property that drain into the right-of-way for the town of Hull.
Konkol also spoke for the town of Hull earlier this year when Erwin sought a land-use map amendment from the Plan Commission to pave the way for annexation.
He encouraged the commission to hold off on any decisions regarding the land until the litigation was resolved. Additionally, he suggested waiting until the city of Stevens Point and the town of Hull develop an official boundary agreement.
“I think the message that was sent by this Commission earlier when this was before us as a comprehensive plan amendment was, ‘let’s not approach this piecemeal, let’s take this in a uniformed comprehensive manner.’ The town of Hull is on record as recommending that the city and the town enter into a comprehensive boundary agreement. That’s still out there,” Konkol said. “I would say that’s a more rational way to approach this as opposed to just an ad hoc approach that is being taken here.”
Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza said the city’s decision to annex the property has no bearing on the town of Hull’s case. The property will have to comply with the city’s zoning ordinances and will not remove the property from any town of Hull right-of-way obligations.
Ultimately, the Plan Commission recommended approval of the annexation but Wiza said the option of forming a boundary agreement with the town of Hull for future issues and/or annexations is still an option.
The second request was made by Nancy Urbanek to annex her undeveloped property at 5707 Highway 10 East, Stevens Point, directly behind the former Copps Grocery store, into the city.
The property was thought of as a good candidate for annexation for commercial development during the drafting of the city’s current comprehensive plan as it fits with the corridor along Highway 10.
“Utilities are already extended to this property … We’ve specifically identified (the property) in our comprehensive plan to come into the city as a commercial use,” said Ostrowski.
However, several residents of the town of Hull neighborhood on Algoma Street expressed concern about what might be developed on the property as their residential plots border the land up for annexation.
Leo Jacoby, a Hull Town Board member, said the town of Hull isn’t against the annexation but would highly encourage the city consider the property’s neighbors when a developer shows interest in building on the property and not let anything go in that would have an adverse effect on the residential neighborhood.
To give itself the most control over what gets developed on the property, the Plan Commission zoned the property “B-5 Highway Commercial.”
“(B-5 zoning) provides the greatest protection for them because this body would have to review any site plan regarding any use within that district. So, any project would be brought back to the Plan Commission for review and approval,” said Ostrowski.
“(B-5) gives the most flexibility for oversight. For example, B-4 zoning has certain allowed uses so we get no say (what gets built), none at all if it’s a permitted use. With B-5, everything comes back to the Plan Commission for a site-plan review,” said Wiza.
The Stevens Point Common Council will vote to approve or deny the Plan Commission’s recommendation of annexation for both properties at its next regular meeting Monday, Dec. 21.