Proposed Orchard Hills development moves on to full county board

Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 10:36 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE CO., Wis. (WEAU) -After getting rejected last year, a proposed Eau Claire County housing project returns to the county’s committee on planning and development.

Known as Orchard Hills, the project is looking to build single family homes in the Town of Washington.

Last week it was approved by the town board.

As the next stop in the rezoning process, the county got its chance to weigh in.

Located at the corner of Deerfield and Mischler roads, the purpose of Tuesday’s meeting was to decide whether this lot should be rezoned from agricultural use to rural housing.

That change in designation is cited in both the town and the county’s future plans for the property.

A proposal by the same development group was rejected by the county board in June last year.

It returned this time with a few changes.

One of the developers said this proposal includes 10 fewer homes.

In Tuesday’s meeting 10 people spoke for the project citing housing needs in the county.

“Would really love to live in Eau Claire and be a part of the community again,” said Dawn Fogel who spoke for the proposal as someone looking to move back to the area. “My husband and I have been looking for land to build on south of Eau Claire for quite some time, and it’s taking us much longer than we had anticipated. However, we believe we finally found what we’re looking for in Orchard Hills.”

Twelve people spoke against the project citing their concerns over traffic and potential environmental impacts.

“Today our street is a shortcut for people trying to avoid the four way stop on Lowes Creek and Deerfield,” said William Glass who lives near the proposed development and spoke against it. “These motorists either continue on west to Deerfield or drive to the Whitetail neighborhood to the south of Deerfield and II. While I know a lot of that traffic of that proposed development could come down Evergreen and Mischler, I also know that people will cut corners at every opportunity and continue to go down Deerfield just a few seconds faster especially after a long day at work.”

Supervisors Dane Zook and Gary Gibson voted to approve the rezoning proposal.

Supervisors Robin Leary and Jim Dunning voted against it.

The proposal will move on to the full county board.

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