So far, 2019 DeForest building permits are running a bit behind those of 2018.

That’s according village Zoning Administrator Brandi Cooper, who presented a biannual report on building permits Tuesday, Aug. 6, at the DeForest Village Board’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

The estimated cost of construction year-to-date for DeForest is $44,617,740. In 2018, that total figure for the year was $73,351,112, up from $59,895,087 in 2017.

A total of 36 building permits for single-family residences, at an estimated cost of construction of $10,730,298, have been issued, compared to 59 in all of 2018, 75 in 2017 and 73 in 2016.

“We’re on track with 2017 and 2018 as far as residential single-family permits,”{ said DeForest Zoning Administrater Brandi Cooper.

Trustee Abigail Lowery noted that there were 0 building permits issued this year for multi-family construction. None were issued in 2018 or 2017 either, although 25 were doled out in 2016 at an estimated cost of construction of $25 million.

“I think there’s a lot of opportunity in that area,” said Lowery.

Lowery indicated she’d like to see more multi-family residences and duplexes in the village, saying that they are “inherently more affordable.”

With regard to duplexes, building permits for a total of 10 buildings with 22 units have been given out in 2019. Eight of those are two-unit and two- to three-unit condominiums in Conservancy Place. The estimated cost of construction for those residences is $6,668,442.

In 2018, a total of 28 building permits were issued for duplexes at an estimated cost of construction of $4,881,658, compared to 12 in 2017 at an estimated cost of construction of $4,333,700.

Cooper’s report also identified a total of 282 vacant single-family lots currently on the market in DeForest. Here’s a breakdown of those lots in different developments: one in Campbell Hill; 10 in Fox Hill Estates; 30 in Heritage Gardens; 29 in Park Crossing; two in the second addition of Rivers Turn; 58 in the third addition of Rivers Turn; 118 in Savannah Brooks; and 34 in The Meadows.

Lowery also asked what percentage of single-family units are located in the village’s Tax Incremental Districts (TIDs). Cooper reported that it is 67 percent.

Every time a new TID is created, the value of taxable property within it (its base value) is determined. Each taxing authority with jurisdiction in the district, including the municipality, county, school district, sewerage district, and technical college, continues to collect taxes from that base value locked in throughout the life of the district.

However, as the property value of the district increases due to public and private investments, the increased tax revenue stemming from the private development, or tax increment, is used to repay project costs and borrowing.

Lord of Love Trail

The board voted unanimously to relocate a portion of the Lord of Love trail, originally built out of the village’s easement, back into easement. Public Services Director Kelli Bialkowski said the village had received a quote for the work, after meeting with local contractors. The project is expected to cost $13,500.

A nearby property owner has expressed his frustrations with trail users, from trespassers to pet owners letting their dogs off leash onto his land and two incidents of dog bites. Village officials had discussed an alternative resolution with the property owner, Jeff Butts, who addressed the board in June with his concerns.

The village board directed Bialkowski to see about buying the easement from Butts. The two parties were unable to settle on a price.

In support of the motion to go ahead with relocating that part of the trail, so named because of its proximity to Lord of Love church, Village President Judd Blau said, “I agree we should just move forward with this and move it, put it back to where the easement was supposed to be.”

Athletic Complex

By a 3-2 vote, with Jeff Miller and Colleen Little opposing the measure, the village board approved a non-exclusive listing contract with Greg Reinhard Baseball Academy (GRB) for facility sponsorship at the Athletic Complex.

In 2017, the village entered into a renewed agreement to have GRB assist the municipality in selling Athletic Complex sponsorships. That agreement expired at the end of 2018. The terms of the original agreement were carried over to the new deal, with some additions.

Outside of one $7,500 outfield sign for Madison Gas & Electric, GRB has not been successful securing sponsorships for the Athletic Complex.

Village Administrator Steve Fahlgren said he thought GRB was waiting for this contract to be finalized to go out and secure sponsorships.

Bialkowski said she thinks that when the park is finished, corporate sponsors will be more excited to come aboard. Blau also noted that GRB only gets a commission for getting sponsorships. According to the agreement, the Village shall pay GRB a commission of 10 percent of the amount of any facility sponsorship GRB procures.

Trustee Miller said he hadn’t seen enough action from GRB to give his approval to the measure. “Prove me wrong,” said Miller.

The agreement does not prevent the village from seeking sponsors on its own. Bialkowski listed sponsorships that had been acquired. All scoreboard sponsorships have been sold, she said, along with a dugout sponsorship. Among those left are naming rights for fields, the complex as a whole and the concessions house, as well several dugout opportunities.

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