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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — As the old saying goes — when it rains, it pours.
After the Village of Colfax tried for a number of years to encourage residential development in East View along Dunn Street, Homes by Croix Creek now has one house started with plans to build four more.
But that’s not all, as the Colfax Plan Commission learned at a meeting held April 29.
Andrew De Moe, of Andy’s Custom Concrete, is interested in building a triplex in East View, and Mike Miller, of Whitehorse Construction, is interested in building single family housing in East View.
The finished house in East View and the five houses planned by Homes by Croix Creek will fill Phase I of the residential development, so now the problem becomes extending sanitary sewer along Dunn Street to accommodate development in Phase II, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer.
To complicate matters, there’s also the issue of Tax Increment Finance District No. 4, in which Phase I and Phase II of East View are located.
The expenditure period for TID 4 ended in February, but since there had been interest expressed about developing lots in Phase II, the Colfax Village Board approved borrowing additional money to include Dunn Street in the road construction projects this summer.
At the February 15 meeting, the village board approved borrowing $120,000 for the Dunn Street project to make the final expenditure for TID 4 by the February 22 deadline.
The financing will be part of TID-4, so the loan will not be on the property tax levy, and the interim borrowing allowed expenditures on TID-4 before the end of the expenditure period February 22.
The $120,000 will be refinanced later when the village finances all of the street projects for this year.
The Riverview Avenue project (from High Street to Viking Drive) includes 500 feet of street and curb and gutter, storm sewer reconstruction, water main reconstruction and sanitary sewer reconstruction for a total estimated construction cost of $240,300.
The High Street project (from Riverview Avenue to Oak Street) will include 100 feet of street and curb and gutter, storm sewer reconstruction, water main reconstruction and sanitary sewer reconstruction for a total construction cost of $96,100.
The Dunn Street project, which will cost an estimated $87,500 for engineering fees and construction, will involve 215 feet of sanitary sewer extension and pavement reconstruction but does not include water main or storm sewer.
Sanitary sewer is already installed to the end of Fourth Avenue, and water main already exists on Dunn Street.
Before the plan commission makes any recommendations about the placement of residential projects in East View, Niggemann said at the April 29 meeting, she wanted to confirm numbers for TID 4 and the financing with the village’s financial consultant, Sean Lentz of Ehlers and Associates.
At some point, Colfax may still end up creating another TID, but for now, the village must use the expenditures for TID 4 that the borrowing of $120,000 will allow, she said.
The concept plan for East View is only that — a concept. While the village has purchased the land for first 11 lots, the lots have not all been surveyed and recorded with the Dunn County Register of Deeds, which will allow for flexibility in assigning the lots.
Niggemann also told the plan commission that the new owners of the farmland which is part of the concept plan for East View are willing to work with the village to sell more land to Colfax.
At the southern end of Phase I, which is the lot where the finished house is located, there will be a street right-of-way to allow a road to eventually be built into the rest of the development.
De Moe said he wanted to build the triplex directly south of the street right-of-way.
According to the concept plan, Lot 7, 8 and 9 in Phase II directly south of the street right-of-way are earmarked for single family residential, while Lot 10 and 11 farther south are intended for multi-family residential.
The street project planned by the village would extend sanitary sewer past Lots 10 and 11 so that the developer can extend sewer and water into the lots.
The triplex will be built on a slab and will have concrete walls. The interior of the triplex units will be an open floor plan with a variety of upgrades. Each unit will have a patio door, the siding will be LP and not vinyl, and brick or stone will be used on the front of the triplex, De Moe said.
Slab construction appeals to people because there would be no steps going up into the triplex, he said.
De Moe noted he had begun working on the plans for the triplex last summer.
The original plan had been to build the triplex and rent out the units, but since construction costs have increased significantly since last summer, the plan now is to sell each of the units, he said.
The triplex would contain two two-bedroom units and one three-bedroom unit, De Moe said.
The village board would have to modify the village’s ordinances to accommodate a triplex. The ordinance currently allows a “zero lot line” for twin homes but does not include triplexes, Niggemann said.
If there is interest in the triplex condominium concept and the units sell in acceptable amount of time, De Moe said he would be happy to build another triplex.
Since the original concept was to have single family housing for Lots 1 through 9, is it a good idea to mix multi-family with the single family and have a multi-family unit where the single family had been planned? asked Jody Albricht, village president and chair of the plan commission.
Miller, of Whitehorse Construction, said he has built construction projects in several locations, including Chetek and Trempealeau.
Mixing single family with multi-family is not generally considered to be a good idea, he said.
Miller said he was interested in building single family houses on Lots 7, 8 and 9.
The houses would be 1,100 to 1,200 square feet with a two-car garage and would sell for around $200,000, he said.
Miller commended the Village of Colfax for being pro-active on housing development.
Studies have shown that for communities to grow, the communities have to invest in their communities, he said, and Colfax is investing in the community.
In order to make sure the cost of extending the sanitary sewer to Phase II and fixing the street would be covered, Niggemann said she needed to speak with Lentz about a financial forecast on debt capacity and how the debt would be paid off.
Once the lots are determined, then the land will have to be surveyed, financing will have to put in place, and ordinance modifications will be needed to include triplex units, she said.
De Moe said he had hoped to begin construction in June on the triplex, and if construction started in June, the unit would be finished by end of October.
Plan commission members decided they did not have enough information about the financing of the sanitary sewer extension to make any recommendations about assigning the lots for single family or multi-family units.
The Colfax Plan Commission approved a motion to table the issue of lot division for two weeks and will meet again on May 13 at 6 p.m.
In addition to Albricht, plan commission members who attended the meeting were Logan Michels, Dave Hovre and Mike Buchner.
Plan commission members Nancy Hainstock and Jason Johnson were absent from the meeting.
In order to try to maintain some social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colfax Plan Commission met in the conference room at the Colfax Rescue Squad.