Town’s on-again, off-again land negotiations back on

By 
By KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The Town of Port Washington’s quest to buy two properties next to the Town Hall is not over.

 

The Town Board on Monday met in closed session to consider a letter from the Gantner family, which owns the properties, 

containing a proposed deal for the land, officials said.

 

The town is rejecting that proposal but will send the family a counter-offer, Town Chairman Jim Melichar said during the regular town board meeting after the closed session.

 

After the meeting, he said the town is prepared to make essentially the same offer as it had before — $165,000 for the property at 3703 Highland Dr. and $80,000 for the land at 3709 Highland Dr. — noting the electors approved that offer during the annual meeting in April.

 

“We got permission from the electors and we’re sticking to it,” Melichar said. “I don’t think anything we did was out of line except missing the escrow payment.”

 

Last month, the town learned that the Gantner family had withdrawn from its contract to sell the two properties. They were able to do that, officials said, because the town had failed to pay the required earnest money.

 

But during a special meeting on June 21, members of the family said they are open to negotiating a sale to the town again.

 

“If you’re still interested in buying the property, we’re interested in negotiating with you,” property owner Paul Gantner said. “The possibility is still there if you’re willing to negotiate.”

 

His sister and fellow property owner Joanne Schmidt noted that the family wants to sell both properties, not just one. 

 

They’re putting $20,000 in improvements into the house at 3703 Highland Dr., she said, replacing the roof and wiring.

 

“It’s worth a lot more at this point if you look at what houses are selling for,” Schmidt said, adding the town had agreed to buy that house “as is” for $165,000.

 

Melichar, however, said the town agreed to buy it pending a home inspection and any needed repairs being done.

 

The town planned to raze the house at 3709 Highland Dr. and use the land for the town’s recycling operations, and continue to lease the house at 3703 Highland Dr. with an eye toward eventually selling it for development.

 

“You’re foolish if you don’t buy the two properties,” Schmidt told the board. “It adds to the value of your property here. If you don’t buy and a developer comes in, they’ll have to negotiate with three people instead of just the town.

 

“You have to have a vision.”

 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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