Town should not be responsible for Wall development

There’s a real simple solution to Terrence Wall’s alleged desire to lower the prices on residential lots in the Community of Bishops Bay development on Hwy M: He can reduce the profit he’s making on each lot.

Wall’s solution to reducing the lot prices—requesting the Town of Westport to “help him” (i.e., bail him out) pay for infrastructure costs via a special assessment over 20 years—is ludicrous.

Real estate development is a risk/reward business. Terrence Wall knew exactly what the risks were before starting the Community of Bishops Bay development. He knew the costs involved, including what his price points were and what his infrastructure costs were. Has he disclosed those documented costs to the Town Board, including land purchase price, infrastructure costs, holding costs, marketing, and other costs related to the development?

Why isn’t he selling the lots? Because at upwards of $200,000 per lot, the price point is too high. That’s the developer’s problem, not the Town’s problem.

The Town of Westport should have no responsibility in financing Terrence Wall’s infrastructure costs via a special assessment on the lots. This would set a dangerous precedent. How many other businesses has the Town bailed out in such a manner? How many businesses is the Town willing to bail out in the future?

If the Town approves the $9 million special assessment and the development goes under, is the Town on the hook to pay some of the associated costs? Because Wall’s creditors surely will look for avenues to recoup their costs.

Lots and homes in the greater Waunakee/Westport area are selling at a rapid pace. To our knowledge, other developers in this area aren’t requesting special assessments to bail them out.

Kathy and Paul Kuehn

Town of Westport

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