Cancel KPW Public Hearing & Do EIS Right This Time
To: Stoughton City Council, Mayor & Planning Commissioners
Fr: The undersigned citizens of the Stoughton area
Subject: Kettle Park West (KPW) Public Hearing 10-27-14 & Economic Impact Statement (EIS) for KPW
1. We petition the city of Stoughton to follow state laws, city ordinances, city policies and legal processes required to consider the approval or disapproval of the Kettle Park West commercial development on the west edge of our city. The public and a minority of the city council are being effectively excluded from the decision making process.
2. We petition the city to cancel the Planning Commission public hearing on the KPW project scheduled for Monday, October 27, 2014, at 6 pm in Council Chambers for the reasons below.
a. In his 10-24-14 email City Council President Michael Engelberger asked the mayor, council and planning commissioners to postpone the public hearing and related items until the city has an accepted economic impact analysis. His request specifically stated this includes postponing the KPW Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) plan and district and the Site Improvement Plans (SIP);
b. President Engelberger states that the agreement between the city and KPW LLC, called the developer's agreement, is now out of date and in need of modifications. The city should NOT be proceeding with the legally required public hearing and with the approval of the TIF district formation process when the city has only an outdated or legally defunct agreement;
c. The Moratorium placed upon all city KPW related work is still in effect without a completed and accepted impact study and neither condition has been met yet;
d. Per state law and council policies the city is responsible for providing reasonable opportunities for public input and discussion of major city decisions. The City of Stoughton has shown no sincere interest in updating the impact study in spite of the dozens of citizen comments and petitions and the impact study continues to remain a seriously flawed document;
e. At first 5 of the 12 alders and now 6 of the 12 alders have repeatedly been denied by the mayor and former council majority from asking their questions, formulating their recommendations and voting on the needed changes/improvements to the Maxfield consultant's Economic Impact Study of the proposed KPW retail businesses on Stoughton and surrounding communities. Such actions impede the Council's responsibilities to provide due diligence in its work;
f. As of Friday morning, October 24, 2014 there was still nothing on the city calendar about the hearing the following Monday evening. As of Friday afternoon, the public hearing agenda was posted along with approximately 160 pages of ordinances and resolutions which the public is to study during one work day, Monday, October 27, 2014;
g. The public was NOT provided a reasonable time to study the posted documents or pick up paper copies of the documents in a reasonable timeframe to then provide at the Public Hearing Monday, October 27, 2014 at 6PM reasonable comments, recommendations for changes, deletions or additions and the public furthermore did NOT have sufficient time to consult with other members and groups of the public to form recommendations;
h. The City is required by state law to legally conduct a public hearing on the KPW Project Plan. That responsibility has been delegated to the Planning Commission. If the illegal 10-27-14 public hearing is allowed to take place, then the city will be allowed to move forward with a resolution to create the KPW Tax Incremental District (TID). The process then moves to the final step: action/approval by the Joint Review Board. The KWP project is finalized IF the JRB approves the TID; and
i. The City is proceeding to develop KPW WITHOUT a city TIF policy to follow. Specifically, the City does NOT have a TIF policy to follow for creation of a TIF District for undeveloped farm and open land, which is where KPW is proposed to be built. The City DOES have a policy for land which is within City designated "redevelopment areas." "RESOLUTION NO. R-18-05 CITY OF STOUGHTON RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING POLICIES FOR THE USE OF TAX INCREMENTAL FINANCING (TIF) .... Important Notice and Disclaimer The attached policies and guidelines have been prepared by the CITY for the purpose of guiding recommendations regarding Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) assistance to projects within CITY designated redevelopment areas." During 2014 the City began the process of updating its TIF policy but that work has not been completed. Thus the city is violating it procedures by developing a TIF District WITHOUT having a policy on how to do its work when undeveloped farm and open land is proposed for development.
For the above reasons the Planning Commission Public Hearing should be canceled.
3. We petition the mayor, council and planning commissioners to follow President Engelberger's proposal "We should take a step back and review our process. We should stop all activity on the KPW Development per the moratorium until we have an accepted economic impact analysis. We should meet as a council to get an understanding from our staff on each step of the process to make sure we are doing things in the proper order. We should review our process, cross all of our t’s and dot all of our i’s to make this a transparent process for all of our concerned citizens. We should not be putting the cart before the horse like we have many times."
4. We petition the Planning Commissioners, at the beginning of the public hearing, to table the Public Hearing agenda, if the mayor refuses to cancel the hearing, and specifically that the agenda be tabled to a time certain which is after the City Council has formally accepted the EIS and after the Council has formally decided to proceed with the KPW project or deny it based upon the EIS.
5. We petition the city council to conduct public hearings on what further work needs to be done on the KPW Economic Impact Study (EIS) per the city's "Big Box" ordinance. The EIS submitted by Maxfield consultants is incomplete in many respects.
6. We petition the city to require Maxfield consultants to conduct further investigation on the impact of the proposed WalMart SuperCenter and all the other related retail businesses proposed and
a. That when the next draft of the EIS is submitted all the citizens and business persons in the impacted communities (Stoughton, McFarland, Oregon, Evansville, and Edgerton) be invited to public hearings conducted by the city council during the daytime and during the evening to solicit their views on the EIS and whether the city should proceed with the KPW retail project or deny/cease the project;
b. That the city council studies the final EIS, the record of the public hearings and formally decides whether to accept or reject approval of the EIS; and
c. That the city council, once the EIS is accepted, then discuss and decide whether the proposed KPW retail project will be allowed to proceed for further reviews and decisions or be denied based upon the estimated impact of that project on Stoughton and surrounding impacted communities.