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Subdivision moves forward, despite opposition

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – For a second straight village board meeting, Hobart residents showed opposition to a proposed subdivision.

Discussion lasted close to 90 minutes on Tuesday, May 1, with residents of the Rolling Heights subdivision against a proposed 16-lot plat nearby that was ultimately approved.

The agenda item called for the rezoning to change the land from agriculture to rural residential.

The final plat approval would allow the development to move forward.

“The majority of the concerns were again over the wells and proposed septic systems that would be needed to serve these homes, and the lot sizes,” said Aaron Kramer, village administrator, after the meeting.

At the meeting, two lots were combined, bringing the total number of lots in the Cross Country subdivision to 15.

With the combination, the average lot size is now 2.05 acres, with the smallest lot at 1.03 acres and the largest at more than 4 acres.

“It would be safe to say the majority of those that spoke were requesting that the village require lot sizes of no less than 2.5 acres for lots that require private wells and septic systems,” Kramer said.

Residents expressed concerns that 15 lots, close together, each with private wells and septic systems, could lead to groundwater contamination.

“It was due to concerns about the wells and the septic, as well as trying to preserve the ruralness of that area,” Kramer said. “That (2.5 acres) had been the standard minimum lot size for previous development in that area, but improvements in septic system technology has led Hobart as well as Brown County and other governmental entities to lower the minimum lot sizes.”

Village staff did research resident complaints from the last meeting and presented the findings in a report.

The report stated the Brown County Subdivision Ordinance does not contain any minimum parcel size for subdivisions deploying private on-site water treatment systems (POWTS), unless the parcel is subject to Shoreline Zoning District requirements, which the proposed plat is not a part of.

It also stated the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services said state administrative code contains no requirements regarding parcel size in relation to the installment of POWTS.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources administers the state well program through permitting and reporting. But the DNR advised there are not any regulations that address parcel size or density/concentration of wells, the report said.

Finally, the report mentioned that Troy Van De Yaght of Leo Van De Yaght Well Drilling sees no problem with the proposed concentration of wells and POWTS, as he lives in an area with 80 parcels that employ wells and POWTS that is denser than the proposed plat.

The report also stated the DNR does use hydrology maps of groundwater flow, but those maps are not routinely referenced in applying regulations applicable to local wells.

“There was no information relayed by state, county or other professional parties suggesting well and POWTS systems should include density or concentration regulations or restrictions relative to parcel size,” the report summary read. “The state agencies are arguably the experts on these topics, and their applicable rules and regulations should give reasonable comfort that adherence to said rules will provide for the goals and intent of the regulations.”

Jim Reigel, a Rolling Heights resident, contested the validity of the research, saying it contained numerous inaccuracies.

The plat and the rezoning were both unanimously approved by the board.

In other news, the Board approved the bid of Caldwell Tanks, Inc., from Louisville, Kentucky, for the construction of a 500,000-gallon water tower in northern Hobart.

The tower will be located at 750 Centerline Drive. Construction will begin later this summer.

The $1.677 million concrete and steel tower, which was an identified need for northern Hobart dating back to 2006, prior to the Centennial Centre at Hobart development, will be funded with Tax Increment District No. 1 funds, with no proposed increase in the Village’s water rates to pay for the project.

Kramer said the financing plan for the water tower will be discussed over the next several meetings.

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