The Common Council rejected a land sale to the developers of Kettle Park West just across U.S. Hwy. 138 from that controversial development.

Only one alder supported the sale, with the other 10 opting instead to “have a conversation” about what the city wants to see on its western gateway before it sells the land, Mayor Tim Swadley told the Hub.

“We already have a substation there, which isn’t an ideal situation,” Swadley said. “We want to make sure we put something there that when people approach Stoughton from 138 — which quite a lot of them do – it represents the city (well.)”

The city’s comprehensive plan calls for the land to be a “logical continuation” of KPW that should “accommodate office, employment and retail uses.”

But those uses are have yet to be clarified, and FDG, the firm that developed the Walmart-anchored project just north of the parcel in question, did not provide information about what it plans, Swadley said.

“At some point, we’ll probably have a conversation on the council to figure out what we want the piece of property to look like,” Swadley said.

Ald. Pat O’Connor (Dist. 4) voted for the sale, saying it was a reasonable offer, it could take a while to gain consensus on what to do with the land and “it seems like a pretty critical piece of property ... to just sit there for a while.”

The parcel, at 3201 McComb Road, is owned by Stoughton Utilities, which purchased it in 2009 for $350,000 to use as the site for a future electrical substation. That west substation was completed in August, and the vacant, unused portion of land was listed for sale by the city in October.

FDG offered $480,000 for the land – its 2017 appraised value – according to a Stoughton Utilities (SU) memo included in the Nov. 27 Utilities Committee packet.

But the parcel’s value is complicated, Swadley said.

The city has since solicited proposals from Realtors to sell the land, and those came back “substantially higher” than the $480,000 offer made by FDG. And FDG owns the future access point to the land, the fourth leg of a planned roundabout.

Another significant factor is the land isn’t part of the city’s urban service area, which allows sewer service, necessary for most types of urban development. That process takes months and can be costly, Swadley said, with developers normally picking up the tab.

FDG has indicated it would do that work without taxpayer financing, something other developers might not do, Swadley said.

The next step, Ald. Denise Duranczyk (Dist. 1) told the Hub, is to “step back and talk about how we would like to see this land developed,” make sure it has the right zoning and the city has the asking price right, and then proceed.

Contact Alexander Cramer at alexander.cramer@wcinet.com.