Village of Mukwonago- After many months of planning and open forums, the amended comprehensive plan 2035, promoting development, was approved Tuesday, Nov. 29, with trustees  Kelly Klemme and Darlene Johnson voted against it.

The community room inside the Mukwonago Municipal Building was crowded that evening for a public hearing and joint meeting of the plan commission and village board.

A 13-member steering committee has been meeting regularly since April to make recommendations on a land-use policy focusing on five key areas of the village.

The key areas are north of Highway NN along Highway 83; the northeast portion of the village and environs along Highways ES and NN; land south and southeast of the I-43 interchange along Highway 83; the southwest portion of the village and environs along Honeywell Road and Highway ES; and the neighborhood surrounding village hall south of the Mukwonago River.

Public discusses traffic concerns

During the Tuesday's meeting, a public hearing was held to allow residents to provide additional feedback. Marilyn and Jim McCarthy have lived in Mukwonago for 50 years and still own farmland. They expressed concern over their son Kevin's ability to farm if the plan is approved. Kevin McCarthy has a farm on the west side of Highway 83 and needs the space for his barn, equipment, and home.

Kevin McCarthy said the main concern is increased traffic as new developments and people move into the area.

"It is hard to get out on Highway 83 and will now be harder," Kevin McCarthy said.

He said farming has been in his blood since he was a kid. He has farmed on his own for 28 years. He fears as more development happens, he eventually will be pushed out of business.

Space for housing is an issue

Mark Weiss owner of Half-Time Sports Grille spoke from the perspective of a business owner.

"One the biggest problem Mukwonago businesses face is finding employees, because there is no place for them to live," Weiss said.

Weiss stressed that many potential employees don't want to travel a long distance to get to work. He said he lost a good manager because the person couldn't find an apartment.

In his opinion, the village can't fully grow because of the lack of affordable housing options for employees.

"I talk to some people who are interested in working here; they look on the map. Sometimes they don't even show up," Weiss said.

He added that extra housing options means an increase in customers who would give their patronage.

"I always thought the hardest thing was building the business, but it is more difficult finding the employees," he said.

Matthew Mehring works for Anderson Ashton, a design/build general contractor. He has worked with the village on some projects over the past five years.

"You listen to your citizens and talk with each other to come up with the best plan," Mehring said.

He said he has several manufacturing clients who are looking at Mukwonago.

"I have heard from several people, lack of employees is a problem," he said.

Mukwonago Area School District Superintendent Shawn McNulty agreed with the need for development.

"I talk to people who are the future of Mukwonago. They are desperate and clamoring for more options for housing, shopping, and recreation," he said.

McNulty also brought up space concerns in the eight schools in Mukwonago.

The mass majority of students are resident-enrolled students. There are over 450 students who are open-enrolled, which means they live outside of the school district. State law requires the schools to accept those students if they have the room.

"As the village and district grow and as we get more resident-enrolled students, we will start to decline accepting open-enrolled students," he said.

Saying thanks

Many residents and elected officials complimented the village's openness to feedback. Karl Kettner praised the village and residents for putting in the time for Mukwonago's future.

McNulty has lived in the village for the past 15 years. He commended  the board for the creation of the citizen's committee to study the issues and develop a plan for smart and controlled growth.

"Not everyone will be happy with the plans, but that is the nature of compromise," said Kettner.

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