Town of LIsbon - The town board agreed on July 25 to purchase the former Lied’s Nursery property, 3-1, but not without several concerns raised by board members.
As part of the agreement, the town will pay $1.7 million for the property near Town Line Road and Highway 74 (Main Street). The town has not voted on what it will do with the land officially, but the board discussed selling the land to a developer, and potentially turning the area into a tax incremental financing district.
One concern was that the electorate at the annual meeting approved the purchase of 65 acres, not the full 71.6 acres that encompasses the site. Land owner Jim Forester wants to retain 6.5 acres. To resolve the problem, the town will purchase the entire site, then transfer 6.5 acres back to Forester.
“This was difficult,” said Town Chairman Joe Osterman. “We went back and forth on this entire thing.”
Town Administrator/Clerk Matt Janecke noted the potential for Menomonee Falls to purchase the property and annex it if a decision were not made immediately.
“Just so everyone is aware, we’ve talked about how this land plays into future incorporation; if it does get annexed into the village of Menomonee Falls, it creates an island that is very detrimental,” Janecke said. “From my understanding, what happens tonight is going to directly impact what happens Monday night in Menomonee Falls — whether or not they annex it.”
As a realtor for more than 30 years, Town Supervisor Linda Beal was concerned about one of Forester’s contingencies, which pertained to the hookup of utilities that would be on the roadway of his 6.5-acre property. Essentially, Forester would not be responsible for the utility hookups on that road.
Beal voted against the agreement at first, but reversed her position after Osterman emphasized that her vote could kill the entire deal.
“We need to purchase the property, but I am uncomfortable paying for the road and assessment for the developer,” Beal said. “The new owner should be responsible for those costs. It’s his property. I feel very strongly about that, but the overall intent to purchase it far exceeds that, and I cannot get myself to kill the deal.”
Supervisor Hannah Heinritz questioned the environmental safety of the site and whether there were any contaminants there, since two 1,000-gallon fuel tanks were removed. However, Osterman reassured her that the state Department of Natural Resources had signed off on the safety of the site.
“For me, that’s good enough,” Osterman said.