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Lieds site redevelopment planned

July 28, 2014

Town of Lisbon — A proposal to redevelop the 73-acre former Lied's Nursery Center site near the intersection of Highway 74 and Town Line Road into an industrial and commercial business park has won initial approval from town officials.

Lisbon developer Jim Forester purchased the land in October from the Lied family and intends to divide the land into approximately 22 lots ranging in size from 2 to 6 acres with commercial and retail sites on the east half of the business park and industrial sites on the west half.

Forester predicted that it would take four to five years to complete the development. The Plan Commission last week gave its initial approval to his first client, a Kwik Trip fueling station/convenience store and car wash that will be located about 800 feet west of the intersection of Town Line and Highway 74.

Forester said he hopes to begin work on the infrastructure — roads, utilities, sewer and water — later this year with construction beginning on the development project next year.

Forester said the development will rely on private wells for water and the village of Sussex for sanitary sewer service, although the property is expected to remain in the town.

He said he plans to continue selling the remaining nursery inventory and remove the existing structures.

However, the development schedule will depend upon how soon he can get regulatory approval from the town. The project is also subject to a review by a joint planning committee consisting of representatives of Lisbon and the village of Sussex. The planning committee was created by a border agreement between the two municipalities.

The plan commission approved a preliminary plat map for the project last week. A developer's agreement, a conditional use permit and a final plat map will have to be approved by the town and will be subject to public hearings.

Town Chairman Matt Gehrke said he was hopeful that the approval process could be completed in time for Forester to begin some work this year.

However, he added, "We want to make sure we do this right. We want it to be an attractive, quality development."

Gehrke acknowledged that the development has the potential of representing a major asset for the town's real estate tax base. Town officials have been facing budgetary challenges because the predominately residential tax base has not experienced much growth in recent years. The town's ability to increase taxes in order to pay for incremental increases in the cost of running government has been restricted because of state imposed levy limits that are based on economic growth.

Various developers have been interested in the site for about a decade, according to Town Engineer John Stigler.

Forester is also planning to develop into a residential subdivision 82 acres of Lied's property in the village of Menominee Falls.

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