La Crescent’s Planning Commission got a preview of the proposed 75-home development on the racetrack property off County Road 6 Tuesday.
Developer Mike Sexauer presented a preliminary sketch of the development to the commission and gave a brief overview of the project. No action was taken by the commissioners, with a preliminary plat for the site expected to be presented at the April 3 planning commission meeting.
The plat application will be one of at least three steps that will involve a public hearing that adjacent property owners will be invited to attend.
The development has been tentatively called Horse Track Meadows and Sexauer said he hopes construction can start in the spring of 2019, with the entire project taking up to five years to complete. Grading and infrastructure work is likely to start later this year.
Sexauer said he’s looking at building 75 homes at the site, including a mix of twin homes or duplexes and single family homes. He also is planning a 42 to 48 unit apartment complex that he said would feature underground parking.
“This is the first sketch out of the gate, so there’s going to be tweaks,” said Sexauer, who is the CEO of Badger Corrugating, a building supply company based in La Crosse.
Previous attempts to develop the racetrack property, which has been annexed by the city, were stymied because of concerns about the soil at the site. The type of soil meant the site had to have city sewer, Sexauer said, as it was unsuitable for septic systems, a fact that paved the way for the annexation of the property by La Crescent. Sexauer said the results of recent soil borings by specialists have not indicated the site will present any problems for his development.
Linda Larson, a member of the planning commission, said the development was a “game changer” for La Crescent as it answered the city’s need for new housing. Another member of the commission, Jason Ludwigson, said the development would be competing with others in Holmen and Onalaska and asked Sexauer what gave his plan a unique selling point. Sexauer responded, “I think there’s a lot of people that want to have access to downtown La Crosse and don’t want to drive a half hour to get there.”
Sexauer, who purchased the property from a trust established by the Cornforth family, said he may transfer parts of the property to the city to accommodate a walking trail. At present, he anticipates the site will only have one access road off County Road 6, which some planning commission members said could be a concern. But commission member Dave Hanifl said Shore Acres was a similar size to the proposed development and also has only one access road, which he said has not presented any significant traffic problems.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the commission voted in favor of rezoning a lot at 1108 Spruce Drive and approving a preliminary plat for the site, which is the location for another development project backed by Sexauer. He’s proposing building an eight unit apartment building and two single family homes at the site. The planning commission’s recommendation on the proposal now moves to the city council for final approval.