Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) The Plan Commission rejected a proposal to purchase the Baltus Express Lube property at 110 S. Chestnut Avenue.
The property was strategic for the City as a potential storage space for police vehicles and equipment located near the present police station, plus additional parking space. The City has also considered development of the 2nd Street corridor. On Sept. 10, the Common Council had approved placing an offer on the property with final approval needed by the Plan Commission.
Commission member Bill Penker expressed concern about the acquisition due to the lack of plan. “I do not believe we have adequate information regarding this. The potential use is questionable, and it’s also noticed there would not be any improvements taking place at the site,” he said. “We’re going to acquire a building in an area that’s been designated previously as blight, underdeveloped, underutilized. I don’t want to see the City buy blight and say we’re going to use it for 3-5 years before the police department’s constructed.”
“Right now we have a willing seller and we may not always have that. Otherwise you’re looking at eminent domain or relocation costs,” said Josh Miller, Development Services Director. “…Without controlling the property, you have a limited ability to either remove blight or redevelop it in some cases.”
Peter Hendler expressed concern about having to pay to clean up contamination on the property.
“I understand that the police department needs parking, I understand that, but at the same time we give them parking and we take this thing off the tax roll on top of it,” he said. “I haven’t heard of a plan to develop an entire corridor.”
“There is not one well-orchestrated plan just yet, but what we do know about this piece of property is — we know our police department needs space for their vehicles. We know that,” said Mayor Bob McManus. “We’re also very clear on where the contamination is at this point. And there is contamination not only there, but in many different places. But by capping it off, if it does turn into extra parking lot for extra parking for the plaza, right now we’re putting ourselves in a position where we will have options.”
Approval unanimously failed with commission member Ken Wood abstaining.