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Town Board votes to postpone discussion on housing development in the Town of Washington

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 9:52 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Discussion continues for a major housing development in the Town of Washington and many neighbors say they are unhappy with how plans are unfolding so far.

The proposed development known as Orchard Hills would be built on the 215 acres of land northwest of the intersection of Mischler Road and Deerfield Road and include 122 homes, each on about one acre of land.

On Thursday night the Town Board heard public comment on the issue, most speaking in opposition. Board members voted unanimously to rezone the 215 acres of land from an agricultural district to a rural homes district. However the board decided to table considering a permit which would allow the proposed Orchard Hills development to continue on that land.

Neighbors expressed concern for the environmental impacts, school placement and nearly everyone shared fears of the impact on safety they say this housing development could bring.

“Please consider the safety of this area, the number of people in this area now compared to what this developer is trying to add here,” said Tina Ball as she addressed the board.

Several neighbors mentioned the roads near the proposed development are widely used for recreation and the streets are not designed for a high increase in traffic.

Christina Thrun spoke in favor of the development on behalf of the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association, saying Orchard Hills would help with the housing numbers in the area.

“We feel that this type of development would be a big impact on the Chippewa Valley community as a whole. The Town of Washington is one of the biggest growth areas in the county,” she said.

The Town Board will revisit the Orchard Hills development in a meeting on March 18.

The Eau Claire County Planning and Development Board is recommending the project moves forward. The County Board would also have to sign off on the development.

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