(This piece of FOIA bric-a-brac didn’t make the final cut for “The Milwaukee Anthology,” a collection edited by me and to be published in April 2018 by BELT. Submitted here for your consideration.)
While an Ikea briefly stole the show, the biggest development news south of Milwaukee possibly ever has been the $10 billion Foxconn project. Credit for the Taiwanese LCD screen manufacturer’s choice of a 3,000-acre rural/residential stretch off I-94 in neighboring Racine County has been chalked up to: a) tax incentives and state government leniency; b) President Donald Trump pointing to the property from his plane; c) connections with a industrial ginseng farmer Up North; d) Midwest work ethic, available labor, blue collar tropes, etc.
Foxconn bowed on its full water use plans for the property after public outcry, but the promise of jobs — and additional company plans as part of a business incubator and at sites in downtown Racine, Milwaukee and Eau Claire — left little doubt it’d happen.
For the public record, enclosed is the introduction of the “Comprehensive Plan of Redevelopment” for the Foxconn property, as reflected in minutes of its new village home, Mount Pleasant, from June 4, 2018, including necessary yet curiously titled state legal maneuver to deem the entire property as a “blighted area” in order to move forward:
A redevelopment project is proposed for, among other purposes, the construction and operation of approximately 20 million square feet of manufacturing space for the production of liquid crystal display panels. The developer, Foxconn (“Developer”) will construct the facility which is expected to result in up to a $10 billion private investment over a six-year development timeframe and result in creation of up to 13,000 jobs with an estimated average salary of $53,875. The initial manufacturing plant phase is expected to occupy approximately 1,198 acres and produce a guaranteed incremental value of $1,400,000,000. Further development of the remaining redevelopment area by the Developer, supply chain vendors and other businesses will create additional significant development. In order to facilitate this redevelopment, the Village of Mount Pleasant (“Village”) has rezoned the Project Area (described below) to Business Park, has petitioned for a water diversion to serve the Project Area, and entered into various agreements with other units of government regarding the improvement of roads and providing of utilities.
This comprehensive plan of redevelopment (“Redevelopment Plan”) has been prepared for the Village of Mount Pleasant Community Development Authority (“CDA”) pursuant to the requirements of Wis. Stat. §66.1333(6), as authorized under Wis. Stat. §66.1335 and Wis. Stat. §66.1333.
Wis. Stat. §66.1333(2) recognizes the statewide import of redevelopment and the goal of well- planned land uses providing employment for the people of Wisconsin and its communities. The statute recites that, “[t]he necessity in the public interest for the provisions of this section is declared a matter of legislative determination.” Wis. Stat. §66.1333 addresses “blighted” areas.
A “blighted area” is defined in Wis. Stat. §66.1333(2m)(b)3 as:
An area which is predominantly open and which because of obsolete platting, diversity of ownership, deterioration of structures or of site improvements, or otherwise, substantially impairs or arrests the sound growth of the community.
Once an area is declared to be a blighted area and a redevelopment plan is approved, the Community Development Authority may exercise the powers granted to it for the acquisition and assembly of the real property of the area. Wis. Stat. §66.1333(6)(e).
This Redevelopment Plan is intended to serve as a general framework or guide for development within the Project Area. This Redevelopment Plan designates the boundaries of the Project Area, and includes a map of existing uses and conditions and a map of proposed uses, which designates the general distribution and location of the various categories of land uses within the Project Area.