Two area real estate agents weighed in on the debate about whether or not the availability of municipal sewer and water will positively impact property values on Highway V.
Several Mount Pleasant elected officials and senior staffers have claimed that access to municipal services could double the fair market value of some parcels. Highway V residents scoff at that assumption and say assessments associated with the project mean they’ll never get out from under the costs.
Sewer and water is being run along Highway V from Caledonia down to Highway 20 in Mount Pleasant as part of a development plan for Caledonia in the immediate future and for Mount Pleasant in a few years. What was supposed to be closed system would not have cost the residents on Highway V anything, but village officials say installing a gravity system instead helps prepare for future commercial development in the area.
Having a gravity system means homeowners on Highway V would typically be required to hook up for both sewer and water, but Mount Pleasant trustees voted last year to change village ordinance the eliminates that requirement.
Karen Sorenson is a certified commercial investment broker with Newport Realty with almost a decade of experience under her belt, including a current deal at Highway K and I-94 in Caledonia. She believes the village is doing the right thing by looking further into the future than just the next five or ten years.
“It’s all about access to I-94 and having access to sewer and water will increase the value of these people’s homes,” she said confidently. “It’s important for Mount Pleasant to make these moves or people will go around us.”
The village’s land use plan calls for residential and agricultural use on Highway V, but Sorenson said the plan was done without sewer and water. With the utilities in place, she doesn’t see how Highway V won’t be a commercial corridor.
“The payment plan Mount Pleasant is proposing is a gift because when commercial development comes – and it will come – they will pay big money for properties along that road.” she said. “It’s highly unlikely that Highway V won’t be commercial in the next 20 years.”
Tom, a real estate agent with almost 40 years under his belt, disagrees. He asked that we not use his last name because, he said, he “still needs to make a living in this town.”
“It’s ridiculous to think the properties on Highway V will up that much that fast,” he said. “I’ve been an agent for 37 years, and I’ve never seen dollars like these.”
Tom said he knows Mount Pleasant officials are counting on commercial development moving in, and he does think it will happen but not at the pace the village expects.
“I know they’re betting on commercial investment coming in, but I don’t see it happening as fast as would have to happen to give these people relief,” he continued. “I had a friend who looked at a home on Highway V last year, and I’m so happy they didn’t buy there.”
Sorenson said that when commercial developers do start looking around they’ll expect to purchase a couple of hundred acres at a time, and a resident with a home worth $125,000 now with a $50,000 sewer and water assessment has a good chance of asking $250,000.
“(Developers) will want 200 acres, and they’ll be willing to pay,” she said.
If approved later this week, Mount Pleasant residents along Highway V would be given a 20-year deferment to pay special assessments for a sewer and water project and then another 10 years to pay it off unless a “triggering event” occurs:
- Rezoning the land use designation
- Selling the land or dividing it except when selling to an immediate family member like a parent or child
- Developing the property for anything other than agricultural uses
- Connection to either sewer or water or both
Residents can make their thoughts and opinions heard at a public hearing Monday, which follows a public information meeting last week during which an engineer and village attorney answered questions. The hearing begins at 7 p.m. at Village Hall, 8811 Campus Drive. Call (262) 664-7800.