Baileys Harbor to Vote on Core Expansion

It won’t be a binding vote, but when Baileys Harbor residents leave the polls April 5, town leaders should have a good idea weather those against the expansion of the core area are a vocal minority, or a substantial portion of their constituents.

The town was locked in heated debate last fall during its comprehensive plan review about whether it should expand its core commercial district to include 55 acres to the south of the existing boundary along Highway 57.

Opponents of the change have argued that the existing town core has ample room for development, and that the town shouldn’t expand the business district unless the existing core begins to fill.

Others, including most members of the town board, have said that the core area must expand to attract the kind of development the community needs.

After several meetings last fall, it appeared a compromise that would allow for expansion of the core in exchange for the creation of a vision corridor, or natural buffer, along the highway was imminent. Then, accusations of impropriety directed at the board and a barrage of disparaging signs placed around the village angered Town Chairman Jim Parent.

At a Nov. 30 meeting, Parent called for a halt to discussion and asked the board to put the issue to a non-binding referendum on the April 5 ballot. The referendum question will read as follows:

Shall the Town of Baileys Harbor amend the Town Core designation in its Smart Growth Comprehensive Plan by extending the existing Town Core south to CTH. E, west of S.T.H. 57 only, to include an area within 900 feet westerly of, and parallel to, the centerline of S.T.H. 57?

If you vote “yes” you are indicating that you want the properties west of Hwy. 57 from Summit Road (current south boundary of the town’s Core Area) to Cty. E to be designated as “Core Area” to a maximum depth of 900 feet.

If you vote “no” you are indicating that you do not want the current Core Area extended.

The town has placed marker poles in the ground on Summit Road and Cty. E to mark the distance 900 feet west of Hwy 57.

If the core is not expanded, it doesn’t mean the area can’t be developed to some degree. The expanded core area, however, would allow for greater density and a decreased road setback for possible development, and make it easier to get approved for further zoning changes.