Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:00 pm
A land dispute along I-94 in Kenosha County that prompted a lawsuit among three municipalities this spring, has been settled.
The city of Kenosha, Village of Somers, Town of Paris and the Kenosha Water Utility have reached a boundary agreement over essentially a 3.8-square-mile parcel along the interstate that the Village of Somers attempted to transfer into its jurisdiction from the town of Paris in April.
The City of Kenosha fought the transfer because it would have limited Kenosha’s ability to grow. The city is bordered by Pleasant Prairie to the south, Lake Michigan to the east and Somers to the north. Its only opportunity for growth was the town of Paris, to its immediate west, since a village cannot be annexed.
Somers and Paris, located north of Highway K to the Racine County line, straddle the interstate. Somers has about 2,000 acres on the east; Paris has about 2,500 acres on the west.
Officials from both Paris and Somers believe they could generate $500 million in commercial development over the next 20 years on the west side of the interstate and even more on the east.
Following the attempted intergovernmental agreement, several lawsuits were filed. Approximately 120 residents live in the affected area of Paris. In April, a petition with more than 75 signatures from Paris residents asking that a referendum be held regarding the annexation.
As of October, those lawsuits were dropped and all of the municipalities and the Kenosha Water Utility, which will have to expand its services if development does occur, have agreed to develop the framework for a “binding resolution.”
Under that resolution, property owners who want to become part of the city of Kenosha or the Village of Somers can be annexed upon request. Upon approval, the city would make a request to the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to add to the Kenosha Water Utility for sanitary sewer services.
The Town of Somers and Village of Paris will enter into an agreement for revenue sharing upon development of the areas in the boundary agreement.