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City annexes Ban Tara site

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River Falls,Wisconsin 54022
Hudson Star Observer
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City annexes Ban Tara site
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The Hudson City Council voted 5-1 Monday nght to annex 22.6 acres of residential property for redevelopment as a commercial center.

The new city territory is the Ban Tara subdivision, located on the east side of Carmichael Road between Stageline Road and the Hudson Chrysler dealership.

Ban Tara LLC, a group headed by Hudson Chrysler general manager David Robson and real estate agent Brian Zeller, has plans to develop the property for commercial use, selling lots as sites for restaurants, offices, a small retail center, a bank, a pharmacy and other businesses.

Monday night's decision was a foregone conclusion after the council approved the first reading of the ordinance annexing the property from the town of Hudson at its March 7 meeting.

District 6 Alderwoman Carah Koch cast the lone protest vote, saying, as she has in the past, that she believes the city should finish updating its comprehensive plan before it considers annexing more property.

Attorney Joe Boles, sitting in for City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick, said all of the current residential owners of the property, as well as the developers, had signed the annexation agreement as required by the city. The developers also had provided a letter of credit, assuring the city that it would receive more than $600,000 in payment of deferred assessments, trunk water and storm sewer impact fees, street improvement assessments and other fees.

The annexation agreement includes a restriction barring the construction of big-box stores within the development.

"(The) developer acknowledges and agrees that the city intends to restrict big-box type commercial development on the development property and developer agrees that the city shall have the right to prohibit construction on the development property of structures that are 20,000 square feet in size or more," the agreement read before it was amended to limit buildings to 25,000 square feet of floor space.

District 3 Alderman Paul Radermacher raised the issue of the square footage limitation, questioning whether it was overly restrictive. He said communities typically set the limit between 40,000 and 70,000 square feet.

Zeller, who at the March 7 council meeting said he didn't have a problem with the 20,000-square-foot limit, said he had recently received a purchase offer from a party that wants to build a 24,000-square-foot office building.

Zeller said he also had learned that a typical Office Depot store is 20,000 to 30,000 square feet in size, a T.J. Maxx store, 25,000 square feet, and a Jo-Ann Fabrics store, 35,000 square feet.

The annexation agreement was amended to increase the building size limit to 25,000 square feet on a motion by Council President Scot O'Malley.

Liquor license quota

Alderpersons split 3-3 on the question of whether to adjust the city's quota on the number of liquor licenses it makes available before Mayor Jack Breault broke the tie, siding with those in favor maintaining the current quota of one license for every 750 city residents or fraction thereof.

Radermacher asked that the issue be placed on the agenda after the council approved issuing the city's last available license to the Twisted Grille, a new restaurant and music club, at its March 7 meeting.

State law sets the maximum number of liquor licenses a municipality can issue at one per 500 residents. Using that quota, Hudson could issue six more licenses in addition to the 15 already held by local bars and restaurants.

Radermacher has said he thinks the city should have more licenses available for businesses that want to locate in new developments.

Monday night, O'Malley countered that making more licenses available now would reduce the council's control over who gets them.

State law limits the ability of municipalities to deny granting a liquor license, O'Malley said. He said the law specifies just five reasons for which a city can turn down a license application.

"If you don't have the licenses available, you don't have to defend not giving them out," he said.

Breault agreed with O'Malley. "As soon as four more are available, you'll have four more applicants," he said.

Radermacher countered that the license the Twisted Grille received had been available for two years.

Voting to keep the existing liquor license quota were Breault, O'Malley, Roger Riedel and Mike Laatsch. Voting to increase the number of licenses available were Radermacher, Koch and Dennis O'Connell.

Randy Hanson can be reached at

Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
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