City, Turtle boundary outlook may be next

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BELOIT - While the City of Beloit and the Town of Beloit remain entangled over boundary questions as the town pursues incorporation, the city's boundary agreement with the Town of Turtle will need renegotiation by 2021.

When asked by the Beloit Daily News whether preparations were on the horizon yet, city officials said Tuesday the next agreement with the Town of Turtle should include changes to accommodate growth since its approval in 1999.

That boundary agreement paved the way for the Gateway Business Park, the city's largest industrial and manufacturing business corridor, and residential property annexations as infrastructure needs arose.

The agreement was amended in 2001 to stay in place until 2021, with the area spanning from the Wisconsin-Illinois state line, north to the Gateway Business Park and east to Turtle Town Hall Road.

"It's safe to say (the agreement) streamlined and facilitated the development of that (Gateway) area," said City of Beloit Building and Planning Services Director Drew Pennington. "After it was approved, the next year over 400 acres were annexed to create the business park."

The business park is home to multiple businesses encompassing over 213 acres of sold and developed land, with just over 88 acres sold yet undeveloped. Vacant land includes over 300 acres of industrially zoned land and 15 acres of undeveloped but buildable multi-family residential land, according to business park data.

No official negotiations have been scheduled, with the last preliminary talks taking place in 2012.

The agreement governs "boundary adjustment areas" for development and areas known as "town islands" where city infrastructure surrounds residential properties still on septic tank sewer systems. It also outlines areas designated for farmland preservation.

The agreement allows for various properties in the township to be annexed following septic system failures, but Pennington said the new agreement would need to accommodate new areas.

He said a substantial residential area left out of the 1999 agreement, the neighborhood behind Beloit Memorial Hospital on West Hart Road, should be considered as houses begin to age.

"That has to be addressed in any future agreement because they are in the same predicament and there's no process in place," Pennington said.

Turtle Town Chair Roger Anclam could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The city and Town of Beloit will restart negotiations for a boundary agreement on March 15, after both sides agreed to a mediator. The city wants to discuss shared public services including police, fire and public works, though the Town of Beloit so far has declined such considerations.

An incorporation hearing for the Town of Beloit's petition was postponed and moved to March 29 in Rock County Circuit Court from its original date of March 5.

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