Grove Street Development Location

The City of Fort Atkinson plans to develop the site of the United Grove community garden into a residential subdivision. The garden will be moved, possibly across the street to Jones Park.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct the sale price and construction cost of the new lots. 

The Fort Atkinson City Council on Tuesday advanced the planning and platting of six residential lots on Grove Street across from Jones Park.

Currently, the land is being used as a community garden, United Grove. It is located next to a building used to house the Crossroads alternative high school.

The subdivision development will consist of six lots around 66 feet wide, according to assistant city engineer Tom Williamson. These lots will be smaller than others in the city, as the current minimum residential lot width is 75 feet.

The city is working on rewriting its zoning code to allow the smaller lots.

Williamson told the council that the cost to build new infrastructure for the lots, such as water and sewer lines, will be $115,000 for all six lots. 

The city is estimating the lots will sell for $30,000 each, putting total revenue for the lots at $180,000 — $65,000 more than the city's investment. 

While there will be costs up front for the city, the revenues provided by utility bills and property taxes will make a net profit on the new development, Williamson said.

He reported that the city expects to really be able to start planning work for the new lots by early 2020.

The proposed residential development comes just weeks after the council received a report from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on a shortage of single-family housing within the city of Fort Atkinson.

It showed that the city would need to build 30 new homes per year to have enough housing to accommodate current demand, as well as that in the future due to expected population growth.

While the new development would be a drop in the bucket of that 30 homes per year need, council members voiced their approval for the project.

Council member Jude Hartwick said the new homes on the smaller lots could be perfect starter homes to draw young professionals into Fort Atkinson.

“This fits in the community,” Hartwick said. “I think it’s a wonderful project.”

The city has owned the land on which the six lots sit since 1946, when it was deeded to Fort Atkinson from the School District of Fort Atkinson, according to City Manager Matt Trebatoski.

The 1946 agreement included a provision that the city only ever use the land for public purposes — such as a community garden. If the city ever used the land for non-public purposes, the land would go back to the school district.

However, when the city agreed to sell the Crossroads building to the school district in 2017, that provision was removed, Trebatoski said.

Part of that 2017 agreement was that the school district would continue to have access to the land for the community garden until the city decided what it was going to do with it, and once that decision was made, the city would help relocate the garden.

Trebatoski said the city is helping the school district find a new spot for the garden. The likeliest place is right across the street in Jones Park, but it could go elsewhere.

Also Tuesday, members:

• Approved and adopted ordinance rezoning property for Crown of Life Christian Academy to build a new school building.

The land previously had been zoned for residential use, but now allows for construction of 30,000-square-foot school building.

• Approved recommendation from Plan Commission to create new parcel at N3127 County Highway K.

• Approved 911 Joint Powers Agreement with Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office confirming Fort Atkinson emergency services’ work with Jefferson County dispatch.

• Approved a special event license and temporary Class “B” liquor license for Crown of Life Christian Academy’s Thankful Run and Fellowship Nov. 16 at 1401 N. High St.

The next Fort Atkinson City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m.

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