UPDATE: Mayor Says Council Will Decide Monday How to Move Forward on Dog Track Rezoning Issue

The St. Croix Meadows rezoning issue will remain on the Hudson Common Council agenda for its Monday meeting, according to a letter from Mayor Alan Burchill.

A breaking news version of this post was published at 10:46 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2012.


UPDATE (2:20 p.m., Sept. 13, 2012): Hudson Mayor Alan Burchill responsed to letters sent Wednesday from Croixland Properties and the Hudson School District with a letter of his own on Thursday.

In the letter (attached) he says the St. Croix Meadows rezoning issue will remain on the agenda for Monday's Hudson Common Council meeting and that the council will decide whether to grant or deny the request for continuance on the matter.

Later in the letter, Burchill made it clear that if a continuance is granted that all meetings among the parties would take place at regularly scheduled Common Council meetings and not outside of the Council Chambers of City Hall.

The following is the text from Burchill's letter with errors corrected in brackets:

I am in receipt of your letter from yesterday afternoon (September 12, 2012) requesting a continuance for the Request for Rezoning of the St. Croix Meadows Property.  I believe it is in the best interest of all parties involved that the issue remain on the agenda for the Common Council meeting scheduled for Monday, September 17, 2012.  The request for a continuance will be granted or denied by the Common Council. 

The City of Hudson stands willing to negotiate a resolution to which all parties can agree. The Hudson Plan Commission agreed to grant St. Croix Meadows and the Hudson School District a four-month extension on the rezoning request to find solutions to issues that were addressed by the Plan Commission in April.  Some of those issues were not addressed in the report presented at the September [6], 2012, Plan Commission meeting.

So, how do we proceed from this point? If the Common Council agrees to a continuance, it is in the best interest of all parties that future discussions and meetings take place at regularly schedule Common Council meetings and NOT outside of the Council Chambers of City Hall.

The next step in the process will be addressed by the Common Council on Monday evening. I look forward to hearing new ideas and potential solutions that have been developed since the September [6]th Plan Commission meeting.


UPDATE (5 p.m., Sept. 12, 2012): The Hudson School District and Croixland Properties are asking the City of Hudson Common Council to delay its decision on rezoning of the St. Croix Meadows dog track property because new ideas have been generated to address the city's concerns about lost tax revenue.

The Hudson School District issued the following press release on Wednesday afternoon:

School District and St. Croix Meadows Owners Request Rezoning Continuance

The Hudson School District, along with the St. Croix Meadows owners, delivered letters today to the mayor and city council members requesting a continuance on the decision for rezoning St. Croix Meadows. The Board of Education met in closed session on Tuesday, September 11th and discussed the continuance request.  Both the school district and owners have generated additional ideas to address the city’s concerns regarding the loss of tax revenue from the St. Croix Meadows property when it is rezoned to public use. The school district and St. Croix Meadows owners believe these ideas are worth discussing before a final decision on zoning is made. The school district and St. Croix Meadows owners are requesting time to work together with City Council representatives to develop a mutual agreement that will benefit all parties. 

Both the Hudson School District and St. Croix Meadows owners believe a secondary school is the best redevelopment option for the St. Croix Meadows property. Sustaining the vitality of the community, supportive partnerships, and quality of life that attracts and retains residents to the City of Hudson is a responsibility that both the City and the school district share. The school district and St. Croix Meadows owners are committed to working with the city to develop a solution that addresses the city’s loss of taxes and supports the needs of the community. 


UPDATE (3:26 a.m., Sept. 7, 2012: The Plan Commission on Thursday voted 6-0 to recommend that the Hudson Common Council reject the 's for use as a secondary school site.

The vote came at the conclusion of a very emotional nearly four hours of expert presentations, public input, commissioner questions, district and expert responses and commissioner statements. Fred Yoerg, Paul Radermacher, Frank Rhoades, Kevin Vance, District 2 Alderwoman Mary Yacoub and Hudson Mayor Alan Burchill voted for rejection. Mary Claire Olson Potter was absent.



Loss of Tax Revenue

Though the commissioners had multiple objections to rezoning the dog track property, the most significant sticking point was loss of current and future increases in tax revenue that would occur by turning a revenue-generating commercial property into a revenue-spending school.

Though the loss in City of Hudson revenue would currently be about $23,000, estimates prepared earlier this year by Community Development Director Denny Darnold show the potential for hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax revenue if the site is developed commercially.

Making the Case

The district paraded multiple experts in front of the Plan Commission during a 90-minute presentation that rehashed information from they submitted ahead of the meeting.

Experts included John Shardlow and Jay Demma from Stantec, Mark Boehlke and Sam Statz from Hoffman LLC, Angela Popenhagen from Stevens Engineering, Tom Stiles from Safeway Bus Co. and Pete Seguin representing Croixland Properties, the property seller.

Bowen-Eggebraaten and Financial Services Director Tim Erickson spoke on behalf of the school adiministration. Board of Education members Tom Holland and Brian Bell presented on behalf of the school board. 

The public input portion of the agenda drew 16 citizens, including school board members Pat German, Mark Kaisersatt, Lynn Robson and past board president Barbara Van Loenen who spoke in favor of the rezoning request, and board member Sandy Gehrke who spoke against it.

School District Reaction

Hudson School District Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten sent the following statement to Patch after the meeting:

"The District is extremely disappointed in the decision of the City Plan Commission. The District has met over the years with City officials regarding various properties, including St. Croix Meadows to resolve any anticipated issues. I believe that the Commission members did not give enough weight to the evidence in the report that was provided by a team of industry experts or to the 58% of City of Hudson voters who supported the purchase of the property by the District. The District along with the owners will continue to make the case for rezoning. We hope that the City Council will eventually support this so the property can become a future school to serve Hudson students for years to come. St. Croix Meadows remains the best site and the least costly for taxpayers." 

Tensions Ran High

The meeting was heated at times and marked with moments of incivility.

At the beginning of the meeting, commissioner Paul Radermacher referred to Bowen-Eggebraaten as "Mary, our lovely superintendent." Later, during the public comment portion of the meeting, Vote Yes Hudson activist Dan Bushman used a portion of his time to berate the commissioner for that remark, to which Radermacher responded, "I don't give a [expletive]." 

Radermacher apologized for both comments later in the meeting.

The City of Hudson Common Council is expected to address the issue at its next meeting on Monday, Sept. 17.

Back on April 3, to issue bonds in the amount of $8.25 million to purchase the St. Croix Meadows property. The purchase agreement is contingent upon rezoning the land from commercial use to public use.

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Vested Interest September 17, 2012 at 02:03 AM
@Paine - you're smarter than that. You know full well what the court will look at. The will say, "When we review a zoning decision by a local board, we limit our review to: (1) whether the board kept within its jurisdiction; (2) whether it proceeded on a correct theory of law; (3) whether the decision was arbitrary, oppressive or unreasonable, and represented the board’s will rather than its judgment; and (4) whether it might reasonably make the decision in question based on the evidence." The court won't even acknowledge what went on at the first meeting because it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters will be what the commission and council based their reason for denial on. They can puff up their feathers all they want, but the court will only view them as a noisy bird.
mainstreet September 17, 2012 at 02:05 AM
The failure of SCM was due to the approval of Indian casinos by the states of MN and WI. Otherwise it would have been a slot machine for the owners and the city. IMHO the city lost out on a golden opportunity by not approving the sale of SCM to the Indians.
mainstreet September 17, 2012 at 02:10 AM
This is a great idea and the first I have heard of anything similar! However the queen MBE would have to take a pay cut then when compared to school districts of comparable size. :) Now I know why we haven't heard of it before. This is the out of the box thinking that the SD is lacking. Please city council, hold your ground and do the right thing.
Paine Reliever September 17, 2012 at 02:22 AM
You totally missed my point. I never blamed Dennis Darnold for the failure of the dog track or those who own it or ran it. I was never for bringing a dog track here but the indian casinos killed the dog tracks. My claim is that Dennis Darnold is not an expert in commercial real estate. He has given the council some pretty optimistic potential tax income if the track property is ever developed. That is a huge if. My question is how did Dennis come up with his numbers. What experts did he use and what properties did they use for comparison. It is a fair question to ask, because all you bloggers and the mayor and Yacoub and radermacher dismiss the numerous experts the district has had look at the future tax value of that site. I like Denny Darnold, but I think he may be a little off on this one. The mayor, Yacoub, and radermacher stand behind his numbers and push UU eventhough Darnold is raising red flags about running the water. If they really trust Darnold, they should be concluding that UU is not the best site instead of pointing to to a passed mistake.
Paine Reliever September 17, 2012 at 02:32 AM
That's what you call out of the box thinking? Good Lord.
mainstreet September 17, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Please explain why???
Big Guy September 17, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Vested, Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner. Out of 346 posts, yours takes the cake. Realigning Troy Township into the RF school district? Come on. Why stop there? St Joeseph township could go to Sommerset/New Richmond, Town of Hudson - St Croix Central.
Vested Interest September 17, 2012 at 02:30 PM
@Big Guy - why would you think sending Town of Troy to RF as being unreasonable? Half of the Town of Troy already goes to RF and having all of them go there would clean up a number of other items as well. It's a wash when it comes to distance and like I said, RF has plenty of room - actually, they are in desperate need of students due to their poor decision to over-build - just like Hudson wants to do. It's time to jettison the excess weight.
Big Guy September 17, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Lets assume you bought a house next to River Crest elementary school in the Hudson School District and work in the Twin Cities. What would your reaction be if some hunyuck suggested redrawing the school boundaries and now your kids will be bused 10 miles to RF? Just think about how po'd parents got when River Crest opened and school boundaries changed within the district. If you can't understand this, you'd be best to hole up in your basement and not come out.
Concerned Citizen #1 September 17, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Vested, you really need to run for public office if you already aren't a council member, you have an answer for everything and you know more than anyone else....just like a career politician....you ask you buddies Vote No and Phil "quick draw" McGraw to co-lead your campaign. Someone once said, "To those being critical of members of the plan commission and council's decisions (or school board for that matter-I add this part, adlibbed a bit) , do those of us who know better a favor and run for office or volunteer to serve....i think that applies to you to Vested. You claim (or at least your comments suggest) to know more than anyone on this forum concerning: 1. The limitations and responsibilities of a plan commission member, what their charter is and what they are to follow 2. Hudson's comprehensive plan 3. How to design the Carmichael and Vine site 4. Why there wasn't a price given on the Carmichael and Vine site 5. municipal law concerning rezoning 6. The in and outs of voting in a referendum and how it doesn't apply in this case. 7. The school district authority and what it can do/can't do. 8. Laws round rezoning and how the courts would interpret them 9. Redistricting I could go on and on....
Vote No Hudson September 17, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Sounds like you're not only concerned but perhaps a little jealous as well. Just saying....
Vested Interest September 17, 2012 at 05:09 PM
@CC #1 - I thank you and appreciate the fact that you've at least followed my postings here. I do my homework, and yes, I'm probably far closer to this situation than the average individual and will leave it at that. I'm not going to claim or profess to know anymore than anyone else other than to let the logic speak for itself. In my view, this entire dog track situation is nothing more than a lot of noise coming from an emotional group using little common sense. If they want a new school, then buy land in an area where it's allowed and follow the rules just like the rest of the world. Answer this, if some big box store decided to buy Newton field from the school district, would you be all in favor of letting the city rezone that to commercial too, just because the district wanted to dump the land?
Concerned Citizen #1 September 17, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Somewhat difficult not to follow your posts Vested when following this story. You commandeer the conversation.. How close are you to the situation? Do elaborate please. Do you stand to benefit from a "No" to rezone? It seems as if you do...I'm just what I say I am, a concerned citizen with no personal ties to the property, the council, the school board, the owners of the property or anyone else involved other than having children who will be affected by this. Your many, many, many posts insinuate that you do claim and profess to know more than everyone else. Whether you admit that or not, doesn't matter. Quite a big difference between Newton field and a dormant piece of property sitting vacant for close to 15 years that will sit vacant for at least another 15 years. 350 comments and counting, Foley, is this a record? It has to be close. Just saying....
Paine Reliever September 17, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Here is where your logic ends. A big box store would never be interested in Newton field because it is not in plain site of the highway. That is the same reason a big box store will never be interested in buying the dog track. The property should never have been zoned commercial to begin with. Case closed. Let's build a school!
Vested Interest September 17, 2012 at 05:49 PM
@CC #1 - "I commandeer the conversation"???? Say what?? Number of posts on this story: Concerned Citizen #1: 27 Vested Interest: 23 You might want to give us out here your definition of "commandeer". But to answer your question - no, I don't stand to gain whether this rezoning goes through or not. It would seem that you have an emotional tie though - are you one who is pushing for this because you hope to send your kids to a new high school? If yes, then you could be considered more conflicted than I. I'm viewing this from the principle of law and process. (Something this school board will only comply with when it suits them.) If you want to know why myself and many others are against this - let's just say we were members of one of the groups that helped write the comprehensive plan. We knew the work was important then, and is even more important now to make sure it is followed. If you want some homework, check out how many groups were involved in putting that plan together and the hoops that had to go through.
Vote No Hudson September 17, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Wow, now that you put it that way, let's build TWO schools! Nice logic!
Concerned Citizen #1 September 17, 2012 at 05:54 PM
I thank you and appreciate the fact that you've at least followed my postings here.
Paine Reliever September 17, 2012 at 05:56 PM
If mr. Foley gets paid by the hits and number of comments on his site then he is the wisest man in Hudson. We have just enough extreme crackpots and people that engage them instead of giving them a free ride. Foley, I want my cut :)
Vote No Hudson September 17, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Yes Mr. Foley, give me my share for engaging the crackpots and not giving them a free ride.
Phil McGraw September 17, 2012 at 05:58 PM
@CC#1 - Vested Interest provides factual information and logical, methodical solutions. It appears from your attack on him that you might be jealous of that ability, or is it an ego thing as when you commanded me earlier to address you as #1?
Micheal Foley September 17, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Sorry to disappoint you all. I get paid a my same steady salary no matter how successful and engaging you all make the site for each other.
Phil McGraw September 17, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Hudsoner - you have provided some sensible alternatives here. Wouldn't it be amazing to have a serious discussion with the school board where the public could have such input?
Concerned Citizen #1 September 17, 2012 at 06:02 PM
yes "Quick Draw" McGraw, you're right....my bad....should have just agreed with you to begin with....and that's Concerned Citizen #1...thank you again....
Big Guy September 17, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Phil 'Quickdraw' McGraw, How dare we question your (Vested and Vote No) factual, logical, methodical information you provide. You obviously know better than us lowly citizens that were shammed by the school board into voting for the referendum. I guess it goes to show you that if one fanatic says something is true and another fanatic also says it is true, it must be true. I think I need to go back to school to continue my education because the BS that you guys continue to throw out still doesn't add up for me.
Vested Interest September 17, 2012 at 08:08 PM
@Big Guy - it looks like you and Concerned Citizen #1 have now conceded this debate. I'm glad we (Phil and I) were able to set you on the right path and help you with realizing what the proper result should be here. (Now, if we could only get Paine Relieve to come around.....)
Phil McGraw September 17, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Big Guy - would you clarify name calling of "QuickDraw" so I do not jump to conclusions? Thanks.
Vote No Hudson September 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Uh, Vested Interest, how about a bone my way huh? Just saying....
Big Guy September 18, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Phil, For someone that prides themself on doing research, I think you can figure that one out.
Micheal Foley September 18, 2012 at 01:30 AM
The council has voted, 5-1, to deny rezoning. Here's a post with the initial news: http://hudson-wi.patch.com/articles/council-votes-to-deny-dog-track-rezoning-request I'll have a more comprehensive story up at that same URL later tonight.
Phil McGraw September 18, 2012 at 03:25 PM
BG - still no clarification how that name applies to me. I realize you are trying your best to be funny.


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