Plans to annex and approve a 51-lot subdivision are moving forward, the Oak Creek Town Board said.
The 19-acre Sierra View development is not yet annexed, and a few details have to be worked out, but Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman said the Sierra View Development soon could get the final go-ahead.
One issue that was a sticking point until Thursday was whether the town would require developers to pay $5,000 tap fees for water up front.
Rodeman said the purchaser of the homes would pay that cost one way or another and thought it would be helpful to the town to have that money up front, especially after receiving estimates of $1 million to $1.7 million for improving the town's sewer system.
Another option, she said, was for the town to receive the tap fees once each lot is bought.
"It wouldn't be taking upfront money from you, but as you receive money, we'll receive the tap fee," Rodeman said.
Sierra View Development Group co-owner Dave Tweedy said he projected that people would buy each lot and then develop it six to 12 months later. Adding $5,000 to the cost of a lot, potentially making it, for example, $45,000 instead of $40,000, could make the lots less affordable, he said.
One of the development's key aims is to provide affordable housing.
Town Trustee J. Elliot agreed with Tweedy, and said it didn't make a difference to the town whether the tap fees were paid as the lots were built on, which is the usual sequence, he said.
"We're not at risk of losing anything," Elliot said. "It just seems logical to me."
Town trustees took a straw vote, and five said tap fees should be charged at the time of building, while two said tap fees should be charged upfront. A final decision will be made after discussions with Public Works Director Jim Photos, Rodeman said.
In a conversation with town attorney Bob Weiss later that meeting, town trustees learned the next steps would involve getting a final plat of the subdivision and cost estimates.
Weiss advised the town trustees they needed to be sure the town's infrastructure could handle the additional customers. He also reminded town trustees that, as with any development and annexation, the town accepts some risk.
"There is risk in development to the town," Weiss said. "If you think growth in your town is a positive thing, then you have to take some risk."
Sierra View Development Group co-owner Tim Geiger said after the meeting that if everything falls into place, development of necessary infrastructure could happen in the spring.
"I think that everything's right on track, and I think we're real close," Geiger said.
The proposed 70 units are to be built on a meadow overlooking downtown. When completed, the development could house 175 people, about a 20 percent increase in Oak Creek's population of 850.
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