UPDATE: Kronenwetter Village Board Approves Controversial Map Amendment

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UPDATE: 06/10/14

The Kronenwetter Village Board has approved an amended future land use map, which includes an area that now could be changed from a conservancy area to a subdivision.

The motion passed in a 4-2 vote on Tuesday. The meeting room was packed with concerned residents who, again, stated their issues with changing the land off of Lea road from a conservancy to an R-1 residential area.

The land in question is privately owned by Norm and Linda Knauf. They plan to set a motion to change the area to an R-1 and then sell it off. Residents object to the change.

"We're concerned about the wellhead. We're still concerned about the property itself and it's effect on the water in the area and on the homes in the area," said Robert Zimmermann. "This area is surrounded by homes that have had water damage due high water in the basements."

The Knauf's land is adjacent to the main wellhead in the village. Zimmermann and many other neighbors said they've done hours of research and said the high ground water levels would get backed up and would flood neighboring homes as well as the ones built there.

The Planning Commission and several other village officials said the data they've looked at shows that with careful planning, building homes there shouldn't be a problem.

"The only flow or restrictions you'd have if a development occurred, would be very little with 8 inch pipes that we have throughout the village right now through several whole subdivisions," said Director of Public Works, Duane Gau. "There's no difference in what we're designing for sewer and water at this point in time for the whole village."

Residents still don't agree.

"Look at the ability of water to infiltrate that area because you don't have impermeable surfaces right now that you're going to have when you put roofs and roads and everything else on there."

NewsChannel 7 tried to speak with the Knaufs on several occasions as well as after the meeting, however they declined to comment. During the meeting Norm Knauf said if the future land use map passed, he would not yet move forward with a zone change motion until he discussed options with the board on what would be the best use of the land. Once or if he does decide to make a motion, it would have to be approved by the Planning Commission and then the Village Board in order for it to go through. Residents at this point are hoping that either does not happen or that some kind of compromise can be made.

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UPDATE: 05/27/14

The Kronenwetter Village Board is putting off a decision that could lead to a new subdivision.

The land in question is off Lea road. Last week the plan commission approved a future land use map and said it could eventually be changed to residential.

People who live nearby objected. They said the homes would be too close to the village main well. Tuesday night, they presented a petition with 180-signatures against the idea. The Village Board put off a vote on a change in the map for at least two weeks.
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UPDATE: 05/19/14

The Kronenwetter Municipal Center meeting room was packed with people voicing their concerns about a particular plot of land at the Plan Commission Public Hearing Monday evening.

The hot button issue was over the future land-use map. The commission said the map is a projection of what they think all the land in the village will be used for in about 20 years. One privately-owned plot of land off of Lea Road is currently zoned as a conservation area, but its owners are looking to change it to an R-1 residential area for subdivision development. They said they want to sell the land and make the area residential to help the village financially. Rezoning it would also raise its value.

"When you look at the future development of this community, does this make sense to identify it potentially as a residential area? And from a planning stand point of 30,000 foot view, plainly it makes sense to identify it as such," said Peter Conrad, the land owner's attorney in the public hearing.

The residents are concerned, however that this revision to the future land-use map is just the first steps for it to be rezoned, even though the board assured them this was currently not a rezoning issue. Their biggest concerns include the land's location to the village's head-wells.

"The Lea Road Conservancy Wetland is located adjacent to the municipal well drinking water system. This should be a concern to you. This if nothing else should be a concern to you," said one resident, Robert Zimmermann during the hearing.

Him and other residents are concerned about how homes built so close to the wells will affect the quality of their water. They also said they believe the land is a wetland and any homes built there would be flooded or have issues, which tax-payers would then have to pay to fix.

"There's a long history of high ground water issues in the area of the Lea Road Conservancy Wetland. This has been testified to by residents, and we have heard their high ground water horror stories of basements being ruined," said Zimmermann.

Those horror stories he's talking about are of two other subdivisions he said were built with poor planning.

"We've seen so much financial damage to the village because of poor design in the Golden Pond and Meadow Wood area. We don't want to see it again, but what's really critical here is it's within 1,000 feet of the wells and they're the only two wells we have," he said.

The Knauf's own the land and they and other supporters said their land is not wetland.

"By definition from the U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency, the term wetlands means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water, which generally includes swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas," said Linda Knauf. "This does not describe our property and from the number of people who used to walked the land, I'm sure they wouldn't have walked it if it was a marsh, swamp or a bog."

Their attorney also said the property was not listed under the Department of Natural Resources' Wetland Inventory Map. Norm Knauf said his appraisers believed the land is valuable.

The motion will move onto the village board. Residents said they will be at that meeting to voice their concerns.

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ORIGINAL STORY: Fri 6:02 PM, May 16, 2014

Kronenwetter residents say they are concerned a possible new housing development could contaminate water and destroy wetland area.

The concern centers around a tract of privately owned land between Thomas Street and Lea Road.

The owner of that property is looking to sell it to a developer, however it is currently zoned as wetlands.

Neighbors say they aren't just concerned about the lost of forest area, but more importantly worry about what it could do to the water.

"80 percent of this property is in the well-head protection area. That area was set aside to protect the wells from contamination and any other problems that might occur. Any disturbance in that area can be an issue." says resident Robert Zimmermann.

A public meeting is being held Monday at 5:30 at the Kronenwetter Municipal Center to discuss land re-zoning.

An initial proposal submitted for the sale was rejected, however a revised one is expected to be re-submitted in the future.


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