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School District Asks for 30 More Days in Dog Track Rezoning

After almost two hours of discussion, the Hudson Plan Commission voted to give the Hudson School District a 30-day extension on presenting its plan to the city.

A Plan Commission recommendation to Hudson Common Council on whether to rezone the St. Croix Meadows Property didn't come Thursday during the commission's meeting as the Hudson School District asked the commission for 30 more days to prepare more information.

"Tonight we're going to share some background information about how we got here, and we're also going to ask for a little more time," Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten told the commission on Thursday. "It was only nine days ago, so there are a number of steps we'd like to take to inform you and give you more information. We're going to provide background tonight, learn what your questions are and then move forward with making a proposal to you at the end of our presentation about next steps."

The slow, cautious approach is a contrast from how the school district had been proceeding with the issue until Thursday. The district first asked the Hudson Plan Commission to recommend rezoning at the commission's Feb. 13 meeting, but the commission voted to delay any recommendations until after the results of the April 3 referendum were known.

With those results coming back with 57 percent in favor of the property purchase, the city held a public hearing on the matter on Monday, and the commission was set to take up the issue on Thursday.

Pete Seguin, representing Croixland Properties, began the presentation to the commission by addressing the loss in tax revenue that would occur if the land would be rezoned for public use.

"This land does not now, and isn't likely in the future going to provide significant or irreplaceable tax revenue to the city," Seguin said. "I realize that any tax revenue is welcome, however the city share of the real estate tax revenue for this parcel has been approximately $22,000 annually from 2007 to 2010. In 2011 it was $25,000, the highest amount. While that's nothing to sneeze at, it's certainly not an irreplaceable source of tax revenue."

David Robson of Greystone Commercial followed Seguin and keyed in how commercial property on the south side of the city would become more attractive to developers if a school was on the dog track site drawing more traffic to that part of town. He also hit the tax revenue point by listing 30 parcels around the city that, if developed, would provide tax revenue to the city in excess of $2.4 million, easily replacing the $25,000 it currently receives from St. Croix Meadows.

Bowen-Eggebraaten then presented for the district, along with Board of Education members Brian Bell and Barbara Van Loenen. The commission also heard comments from six community members in attendance before launching into a lengthy question-and-answer session with the district representatives.

Mayor Alan Burchill asked how much additional time the district would need, and Bowen-Eggebraaten said about a month. He also advocated sitting down with the district to come up with a win-win situation.

Commissioner Fred Yoerg expressed his concerns with the loss of revenue to the city.

Commissioner Frank Rhoades asked what would happen if the next school referendum failed.

Commissioner Paul Radermacher asked several questions about why the county parcel at Vine and Carmichael had been deemed too small and not suitable. Yoerg pointed out that a secondary school in Green Bay had been built on considerably fewer acres and hold considerably more students.

District 2 Alderperson Mary Yacoub, who also serves on the commission asked what the district's secondary plan was in case the rezoning request was denied. Commissioner Mary Claire Potter expressed similar concerns.

Commissioner Kevin Vance asked for clarification about why the district land on County Road UU was unsuitable.

After about an hour of questions and answers, the commission voted to extend the district an additional 30 days. 

SAM April 17, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I wonder what really will happen here. When the library referendum was defeated, the "powers that be" went ahead with their plan anyway. Now they say they don't have enough money to keep it running. Such a big surprise! What those with the most power want to happen will happen--no matter what! The nightmare traffic lights getting across an Interstate Highway that goes through our city will become many times greater nightmares. Two bridges have not been enough to get across already; why make it that much worse? Is that another of the hidden, unspoken costs? Kind of like the library--and it was even voted down!
Paine Reliever April 17, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Here is the catch freebird, we have a referendum vote to move forward based on (believe it or not) quite a lot of research and historical experience. It will be hard to walk away from that momentum. There are some in this community that never thought it would pass and now will do anything to try to make us forget it. They are the same people that now may be pushing the uu property to muddy the water with last second promises of water and sewer to uu. But if this referendum is dropped and a new push is made for uu, they will be the first ones to fight against it. Bottom line is that there is a loud minority in hudson that will fight any referendum for public education in Hudson whether we are bursting at the seams or not. It is another stall tactic. Forgive me if I am not trusting of everyone's motives and I have plenty of reasons to be stubborn in wanting this deal done. You put more value in the dog track importance to the taxpayer than I do. I have doubts it will be developed. It is ok to disagree. I think the vast majority of the voters that supported this plan assumed their vote gave the city a path to follow regarding zoning and may have something to say if the city handles this poorly. One thing I am sure of, your win/win scenario means going back to the drawing board again. The Stillwater bridge come to mind? Good discussion.
Frazzle April 17, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Well we need to remember it was the SD who asked for the 30 days. Not the City. There was not a big movement to my knowledge against a school this time. Between the police, library, road construction, the City is pretty strapped. I prefer to have faith that if the City is willing to work with UU or any other property that is properly zoned. Let's remember if UU would work we the taxpayer have been paying for it for years. Wouldn't it be great if the government entities could work together to make that happen.
Paine Reliever April 18, 2012 at 12:45 AM
I will agree that we both want the same thing only choosing different paths. Yes the city is strapped, but why? Not that I am really looking to get into that but I just want to be careful we don't tie the future success of Hudson to a parcel that has continued to be such a boat anchor for this community. Yes, the dog track, not uu. Uu can be sold to lower the cost of the new secondary space. We have i94 and all the cash that brings running right through our center. How come river falls could build a high school and fund a beautiful city library and staff a police and fire department without all the drama we see in Hudson? What are we doing wrong?
SAM April 18, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Maybe ask the "Me(a)" Party-- They are in control of it all. ALEC is in Hudson.

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