UPDATE: Fitchburg Council advances Northside Neighborhood develo - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Fitchburg Council advances Northside Neighborhood development plan

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FITCHBURG, Wisconsin (WKOW) -- The Fitchburg City Council has decided to extend sewer service to an area just off the Highway 14 interchange with Lacy Road. That would bring the land there into the so-called urban service area and lay the groundwork for development.

Mayor Shawn Pfaff said the Northside Neighborhood development, as it's known in Fitchburg, has been in the works for roughly 10 years. Pfaff said he would eventually like to see 650 acres filled with single and multi-family homes, as well as businesses.

The development would have to be done in phases because Fitchburg city rules prohibit more than 75 acres of development each year.

?The measure cleared the council 6 to 2 Tuesday night.

"I think this could be a place where families from all walks of life could be here, enjoy this," the Mayor said.

"Now is the time, when the economy is ready to take off, that we go in, get the government regulation in place, so developers and business owners can come," Pfaff said.

But Phyllis Hasbrouck, Chair of the West Waubesa Preservation Coalition, said the city has other land that could be developed first.

"The current urban service area contains 1,125 acres of vacant, development land," she said. "That's more than enough to meet demand for the next several years."

Alder Carol Poole responded to a similar concern from a public commenter Tuesday by saying not all of that land is available for sale.

But Hasbrouck added the building of new infrastructure, necessary for development of the Northeast Neighborhood, could become a burden on taxpayers if the area does not bring about the type of economic growth Pfaff expects.

She also said she's concerned new developments could lead to increased water runoff that causes flooding and pollutes Lake Waubesa and its wetlands.

"It's a very fragile ecosystem," Hasbrouck said.

Andrew Disch, the director of external relations at the Madison Area Builders Association, said he supports the proposal. He also said any developmental proposal from the city would have to clear the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources before work can begin.

"This is an example of growing responsibly and adhering to DNR water quality standards," Disch said.

The proposal also has to be approved by the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission before the urban service area can be expanded. Pfaff said he is hopeful that will happen within the next "three to five months."

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FITCHBURG, Wisconsin (WKOW) -- The Fitchburg City Council will consider taking a major step forward in the development of the city's Northside Neighborhood on Tuesday night.

The council will vote on whether to extend sewer services to the area just off the Highway 14 interchange with Lacy Road. Mayor Shawn Pfaff said the goal is to eventually develop roughly 650 acres of now vacant land. Not all of the development would be done at once. Pfaff said a city ordinance only allows up to 75 acres of development each year.

"I'd love to see an area that can be commercial, retail businesses but also single family and multi-family homes," the Mayor said.

If the council opts to extend sewer services to the area Tuesday, the plan would then be submitted to the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission for review.

Pfaff said that would include more public input on the proposal in front of the CARPC.

"We've had more than 50 public meetings about this," Pfaff said.

If the plan is approved by the regional commission, which Pfaff said he's hoping will happen within the next, "three, four or five months," the Fitchburg City Council would then be free to begin reviewing developers' plans for the area.

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