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WHAT ARE OUR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES?

Community Development

What are our community development objectives?


 

Village and Schools seem to be working at cross purposes as indicated in story in North Shore Now.


 

Here are some of the quotes from the article:


 

“We never did the calculation because we did not know about it. We feel bad because we were not told and didn't get to do our job.”


 

“I didn't move to Shorewood to be part of a shopping center.”


 

None of the development that has been done in the village has been family-friendly and attentive to the need of (encouraging) rising enrollment”.


 

When Mobil comes off (the tax increment rolls), it will push property value up and that hurts state aid.”


 

“We have plenty of family-friendly housing. It's just that people

are living in those houses.”


 

These quotes are out of context but seem to emphasize some misgivings.


 

The article was about the acquisition of land by Shorewood that was once the Mobil gasoline station, with part of its land in Shorewood and part of it in Whitefish Bay.


 

The purpose of the acquisition is to develop a building with commercial use on the ground floor and  apartments at the upper levels. Then both land and building would increase the tax base.


 

It seems that increasing the tax base “hurts the state aid” that goes to the Schools when calculating that aid. It seems that that aid was intended for schools with decreasing tax bases, so it presents some peculiar situations for us.


 

It also seems that tax incremental financing was intended to improve the social assets of declining communities.


 

The term “family-friendly” appears several time to indicate that certain types and sizes of dwelling units do not necessary attract families with children of school age, for it is the number of children enrolled in the public school system that goes into the calculation for state aid.


 

So it seems that the condominium and apartment development being encouraged in Shorewood is not a “family-friendly” effort and “hurts state aid.”


 

None of the development that has been done in the village has been family-friendly and attentive to the need of (encouraging) rising enrollment”.


 

But is seems that “we have plenty of family-friendly housing. It's just that people are living in those houses.” Perhaps people unfriendly to families, like “empty-nesters?” And these are expected to move into these new condos and apartments to make room for the “family-friendlies”.


 

Now let's get away from the quotations. The article states that up to an estimated 130 additional housing units could be built on various sites scattered in the village in the next decade.


 

Given the fact that currently each unit in the village now only yields 0.40 students, that cannot be the only answer to the decreasing student enrollment, it was said. I would present a biased opinion here, that “family-friendly housing” is not necessarily the answer to anything.


 

It is obvious that our housing development policy needs to be reviewed.

 

One of those participating at this meeting said,“I didn't move to Shorewood to be part of a shopping center,” and that he'd be moving from his present home because of the proposed development.


 

This brings up the question of encouraging commercial development in our community to embellish the tax base and at the same time hurting state aid to the schools. Perhaps we need to review our underlying policy for developing commercial property as well?


 

What is it that our development efforts are intended to do? Have we really established the right objectives?


 

Perhaps Village Board and School Board candidates can begin answering some of these policy questions?

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