Dog track rezoning will get a thorough city reviewThe application to rezone the former St. Croix Meadows dog track to allow construction of a secondary school there will receive a thorough city review. The Hudson Plan Commission will take up the request at its two meetings in February, and the City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed rezoning on April 9.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The application to rezone the former St. Croix Meadows dog track to allow construction of a secondary school there will receive a thorough city review.
The Hudson Plan Commission will take up the request at its two meetings in February. Also, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed rezoning on April 9.
The hearing will take place six days after voters decide whether the Hudson School District can purchase the 130 acres and track facility for $8.25 million.
Croixland Properties, a Wisconsin-registered limited partnership, owns the property and submitted the application for rezoning it from general business district (B-2) to public or quasi-public district. A school isn’t a permitted use under the city’s B-2 zoning.
The City Council referred the application to the Plan Commission at its Jan. 23 meeting.
The application was accompanied by a letter from a Minneapolis attorney representing the school district, Joseph J. Langel.
Langel explained that the district has entered into an agreement to buy the dog track property, but needs it rezoned to build a school on it. He also passed along Croixland Properties’ request that the rezoning go into effect only if and when the property sale is finalized.
That will depend on whether school district residents approve the land purchase in an April 3 referendum. The City Council rejected the idea of conditional zoning.
Croixland Properties doesn’t want the zoning changed if the land transaction doesn’t go through. Having it zoned for public use, without a public buyer, would greatly reduce its value.
The Havenick family of Miami apparently continues to be a major owner of the dog track property. Fred Havenick was president and CEO of the St. Croix Meadows Greyhound Racing Park that opened in 1991 and closed in 2002. He died in 2004.
Leon Reitnauer of Miami signed the application for rezoning. An Internet search showed him to be a business associate of several members of the Havenick family.
B.L. Nordstrand is listed as the registered agent for Croixland Properties Limited Partnership by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Burt Nordstand, the founder and president of the Hudson-based SSG Corp., was a partner in the dog track.
The Department of Financial Institutions’ website lists six times when partners were added to Croixland Properties between 1988 and 1990.
At the Jan. 23 City Council meeting, Alderperson Lee Wyland wanted to know how much tax revenue the city would lose if the dog track became nontaxable property.
St. Croix County property tax records shed some light on that.
The dog track’s total property tax bill for 2011 was $93,696. The city’s portion was about 25 percent of the total, or $23,424.
The school district itself would lose the most tax revenue. Its portion of the total for 2011 was 47.4 percent, or $44,412.
Hudson Community Development Director Dennis Darnold noted that the dog track property could potentially generate more tax revenue if it was developed for other commercial uses.