The City of Stoughton is moving closer to annexing 51 acres northwest of the city from the Town of Dunn.

The Common Council on Oct. 22 unanimously approved a pre-annexation agreement with Bob Dvorak, who has requested the annexation of land on the west side of U.S. Hwy. 51 near where the roadway joins County Hwy. B.

Dvorak is looking to develop the land in about 7 to 10 years, Ald. Brett Schumacher (Dist. 1) told the council.

The pre-annexation agreement allows the city to seek reimbursement for expenses related to considering the annexation. It also requires Dvorak to reimburse the city for development expenses in the event of annexation, city planning director Rodney Scheel said.

By state law, cities must reimburse towns for five years’ worth of property taxes when they annex property.

The Town of Dunn is objecting to the annexation, but Mayor Tim Swadley said he thinks the city and the town came to an “understanding” during a meeting on Oct. 22. As an unincorporated community, Dunn also cannot prevent the annexation if the state Department of Administration deems it appropriate.

The city’s Plan Commission delayed a first reading of an annexation ordinance in order to first address some of Dunn’s concerns, Ald. Phil Caravelo (D-2) said.

Before any urban development could occur on the land it would also need to be part of the city’s urban service area, which allows for sewer service. That follows a separate process through the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission and the state Department of Natural Resources.