Property owner sues Chippewa Falls Plan Commission

Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, WI), 2014-08-05


Aug. 05 -- CHIPPEWA FALLS -- Chris Kranich is concerned that changes to a conditional use permit that allows more multi-family units in the northwest corner of Chippewa Falls will lead to increased noise and traffic, excessive housing density and decreased property values of neighboring homes.

"With more neighbors, it's more noise -- that's not what I signed up for," Kranich said.

Kranich, who lives at 1718 Brickyard Lane , filed a lawsuit in Chippewa County Court against the Chippewa Falls Plan Commission and developers Westwood Land Co. and Rooney Properties . At a court hearing Monday, Kranich contended the Plan Commission acted incorrectly earlier this year in altering a permit that reduces the number of single-family homes in the subdivision while increasing the number of twin homes.

"My fundamental complaint is the way (the Plan Commission ) went around rezoning," Kranich said after the hearing. "I'm arguing the council never rezoned it. I really want clarification on the law. My goal is for the Plan Commission to hear my concerns."

Chippewa Falls city attorney Bob Ferg represented the city at Monday's hearing; he declined to comment after the hearing.

Judge Roderick Cameron set a date for Nov. 7 , when he plans to issue an oral ruling on the legality of the Plan Commission's changes to the conditional use permit.

A public hearing on the Willow Creek subdivision was first held on May 7, 2007 , with plans for 491 units on 190 acres of land in the northwest corner of the city, north of Bridgewater Avenue and west of Terrill Street . Of those 491 units, 258 would be multi-family.

Kranich built his home in 2006; it is on property adjacent to the Willow Creek subdivision. Kranich asked the council in 2007 to reject the planned subdivision, saying the two-family, twin homes, and four-unit and eight-unit apartment buildings were not permitted in the area, which was zoned for single-family homes. However, the council approved the plan Aug. 7, 2007 , on a 4-3 vote, with Mayor Greg Hoffman casting a tie-breaking vote.

In February this year, developer Jim Rooney requested altering one phase of the development, which would reduce the number of single-family homes in one section of the development from 13 to nine, while increasing the number of twin homes from 22 to 30.

"I feel those should remain single-family homes," Kranich said. "Those types of changes shouldn't be allowed to a final development plan."

Vetter can be reached at 715-723-0303 or chris.vetter@ecpc.com .

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