Eau Claire City Council approves land annexation from Town of Washington

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:56 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - In a 9 to 1 vote, the Eau Claire City Council voted in favor of a land annexation proposal, previously known as Orchard Hills.

The annexation request adds more than 430 acres of land in the Town of Washington to the southside of the City of Eau Claire.

Ahead of Tuesday’s city council meeting, community members rallied in front of City Hall in opposition to the land annexation ordinance. Those living near this land like Brian Binczak with the Friends of Lowes Creek Neighborhood Association said they didn’t want to see that happen.

“I would say we’re not against development or growth,” Binczak said. “I mean everyone in the community knows that the city needs houses. This land was dedicated to the township. There is an intergovernmental agreement that’s in place already that said this would stay as township land, so as a township resident, we want to see that upheld.”

This is the second time these specific acres have come before the city council for a vote. In June, city council members approved the proposal now known as the Stewart/Hauge/CDPG Developers annexation.

A month later the Town of Washington sued Eau Claire. In February, a judge sided with the town.

To address the judge’s concern, the property owners then refiled the annexation petition as a majority petition rather than a unanimous petition. In a previous interview, Eau Claire Deputy City Attorney Douglas Hoffer told WEAU with a majority property owner petition, the approval from Eau Claire County is no longer necessary.

Coming back to city council with that change, council members approved the annexation in a 9-1 vote.

After voting no the first time the proposal came before the council, District 5′s City Council Member Andrew Werthmann voted yes.

“A lot of progress has been made and we heard from the developers that you know they’ve had a lot of big community meetings with people, and I felt like there is a give and take that’s been occurring,” Werthmann said.

Even with Tuesday’s vote annexing the land, Werthmann said there’s still a lot of steps that have to happen before this project moves any further.

Annexing the proposed land would allow the City of Eau Claire to extend its water and sewer services into the new city limits. The petitioners are hoping to develop residential properties on that land.