Members say they should have been consulted before Ansay property negotiations
Members of the Port Washington Community Development Authority, stung by the December announcement that the city was negotiating the sale of 44 acres of land it owns to Ansay Development for a corporate campus, are seeking a greater say in how the city is developed.
Several members said at a recent meeting that they were surprised by the decision, which was made with little input from the public, and asked why their recommendation was not sought.
The CDA’s mission is defined as working on blighted properties and so-called brownfield sites, City Planner Randy Tetzlaff said.
The property that Ansay is eying is a parcel south of the We Energies power plant, undeveloped land that doesn’t fall within the CDA’s mission, he said.
Planning for these properties, known as greenfield sites, is designated to the Plan Commission, Tetzlaff said.
But CDA members said that the Plan Commission is generally an approval body, not an activist one.
Their mission more appropriately should include planning throughout the city, they said.
“We’re not called the Community Redevelopment Authority,” member Erica Roller said.
Member Jason Wittek said that the city needs to do visionary planning, something that the CDA has experience in. He cited the group’s work in creating the downtown redevelopment plan.
“The greenfields are as important if not more important than these brownfield sites,” Wittek said.
Members asked if they could go beyond their stated mission to plan for greenfield sites, but Tetzlaff said City Attorney Eric Eberhardt “strongly advised” that they not do that.
Ald. Mike Ehrlich, chairman of the CDA, suggested that the group ask the Plan Commission for authority to look at planning for greenfield sites.
“We need to have an overall, encompassing plan,” he said. “Let’s get the Plan Commission’s take on it.”
“That makes sense,” Roller said. “Otherwise we’re over here doing our little thing and they’re over there doing their little thing.”
The CDA’s request is expected to be brought before the Plan Commission in March, Ehrlich said.