NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – A petition submitted by opponents of the Shattuck Middle School Property development project didn’t meet city ordinances and state statutes requirements.
This is according to Neenah city attorney David Rashid. He spoke with Local Five News off-camera and said that he couldn’t comment further on which city ordinances and state statutes the petition didn’t meet because the city can’t provide legal advice.
Other city officials Local Five News reached out to referred questions to Rashid.
“Frustrated, to say the least, we feel like we’re representing the voices of the neighborhood and trying really hard to share their concerns with the city,” said Megan Florek who lives near the Shattuck property.
Florek said they were very careful to follow all rules for submitting a petition which she says makes the news even more frustrating.
The group submitted the petition on Monday afternoon. The significance of this petition is that according to a city ordinance if 20 percent or more of property owners that live near the proposed developments sign a petition, the rezoning to make the development possible must pass by a 75 percent supermajority in city council.
Petitioners told Local Five News that about 40 percent of property owners in the area signed the petition.
“We started collecting signatures on this petition last summer and we did our due diligence to double check, verify addresses, names that sort of thing and we’ve put in dozens and dozens of hours,” said Florek.
Rashid told Local Five News that he is in contact with attorneys representing the group opposed to the Shattuck development project. He said they are collaborating to determine whether city council will still need a supermajority to move the project forward.
On Wednesday night, the city council will vote on two ordinances. One approves changes to the city’s comprehensive plan and another rezones the property from a single-family residence district to a traditional neighborhood development district. The council must pass both to move the project forward.
Florek and others have argued that the zoning change doesn’t fit with the existing neighborhood and say that creating a traditional neighborhood development district will lead to more traffic, police calls, and will hurt property values.
City officials have told Local Five News that they have looked into all of these concerns and feel like adding more people into the neighborhood will improve the city.
Last month, Neenah’s plan commission approved two recommendations that will pave the way for a controversial mixed-housing development project on the Shattuck Middle School property.
Opponents of the Shattuck development project have circulated several petitions this fall, including one that has over 600 signatures.
Following feedback from the community, Northpointe Development officials altered the plan to increase the amount of green space that remains on the property. The developer would convert the current Shattuck Middle School building into 100 apartment units and then use the school grounds for duplexes, townhouses, and single-family homes.
Many people living around Shattuck Middle School don’t like the proposed development on the school’s property. Residents have sent city officials dozens of letters and emails laying out their opposition to the project.
Northpointe Development bought the Shattuck Middle School property from the Neenah Joint School District over the summer and they want to turn the property into mixed-use housing.