Territory along Banker Road for a planned residential neighborhood will now be annexed into the City of Fort Atkinson.

Council members on Tuesday unanimously approved the annexation of 75 acres of city-owned land, presently within the Town of Koshkonong, into the city.

The city’s Plan Commission met June 8 and recommended that the city council review the petition for annexation and enact the ordinance annexing the territory along Banker Road to the city.

City Manager Rebecca Houseman LeMire said that, in 2019, the City of Fort Atkinson purchased three parcels of land along Banker Road in the Town of Koshkonong with the intention of annexation and future residential development.

The annexation, she said, will allow the property owners to develop the property at higher densities and obtain urban services that are not available in the town, such as water and sewer.

“This annexation would create town islands within the city, and, to avoid potential conflict, the city and Town of Koshkonong chose to work together on an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) to mutual benefit,” LeMire stated. “That IGA has been executed, and the city has commissioned a plat of annexation and a legal description to move forward with the process.”

She noted that the temporary zoning classification proposed is SR-2, Single-Family Residential District-2.

“This is simply a placeholder zoning district until such time that the city council determines the appropriate zoning districts based on the approval of the Neighborhood Plan,” LeMire indicated.

The annexed territory, she said, will be located in a newly created city ward: Ward 11. There are no electors in this territory, she noted, but future electors will be in the following districts: City of Fort Atkinson-Ward 11; Jefferson County-Supervisory District 23; State of Wisconsin-Assembly District 33; State of Wisconsin-Senate District 11; and United States Congress-House of Representatives District 5.

The City of Fort Atkinson, she said, is facing a current housing shortage of all types, densities and sizes.

“The annexation of the subject parcels will further the city’s goal of providing suitable land for residential development,” LeMire said.

This annexation allows the city to continue the Neighborhood Planning process, she noted.

“After that plan is complete, the city intends to prepare a request for proposals for developers to develop the land in phases in accordance with the city’s Comprehensive Plan and the approved Neighborhood Plan,” LeMire said. “The development of this land will increase the opportunity for housing as well as the city’s tax base.”

The city’s future land use map from the 2019 comprehensive land use plan shows the area as Planned Neighborhood. This future land use category is intended to provide for a variety of housing choices and a carefully planned mix of non-residential uses consistent with the mainly residential character of the area.

The city has hired Vandewalle and Associates to develop an overall Neighborhood Plan for the area. That process has started and is expected to be complete within the next three to four months.

The parcels of the annexed territory are vacant, save for an abandoned building on the north end of one parcel which will be demolished. Municipal utilities currently are not available to the parcels, but the city has obtained a utility easement over the adjacent north-south driveway at Fort Atkinson High School.

The town has agreed it will not object to the attachment of the city-owned lands and certain rights-of-way included during the attachment process, during any future subdivision process, or at any point in the future based on the creation of town islands.

The city will pay the town a lump sum of $868.50 to represent the lost town taxes for the next five years for the city-owned parcels to be attached.

Council member Mason Becker spoke in support of the annexation, and said it’s been a long-time coming for the City of Fort Atkinson.

“I’m extremely proud of the work that the previous city manager (Matt Trebatoski) has done on this, the current city manager has done on this, city staff has done on this, and our entire city council — both our past and current,” Becker commented. “So much work and research went into this.”

He reminded the public that this property previously had been purchased by a contractor who was intending to develop the land regardless.

“So it was going to be developed one way or the other,” Becker said. “I think it’s much more beneficial for our community and, frankly, as well as the surrounding townships that that development happens within the City of Fort Atkinson. I’m just so proud and happy that this is going forward.”

He said he hopes the move will offer more options for people both in rental housing and owner-occupied housing.

“We know that’s an identified need in our community, and I’m really excited for this day and the possibilities that it’s going to bring going forward,” Becker concluded.

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