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Oak Creek OKs updating plan

Anticipated Chelsea's restaurant re-opening moves forward

— With several looming annexations knocking on Oak Creek’s doorstep, the Oak Creek Town Board decided Thursday it best to move forward with updating parts of the town’s comprehensive plan to protect the town’s best interests.

The board held a work session Feb. 21 to discuss options in funding and updating the comprehensive plan, which outlines how and where future growth would occur in Oak Creek. The town last revisited the plan around 10 years ago.

“It came to the consensus that it wasn’t necessary to do a full-blown update, but that there were portions of it that we could expand upon, especially in the areas of affordable housing and economic development,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Angie KenCairn.



Areas of the plan, such as future growth and hazard areas still are “adequate and up to date,” KenCairn said.

The board had other options to update the plan, which included amending the existing comprehensive plan, preparing a three-mile plan or developing annexation policies.



A committee of board members and community residents is heading up the task of updating the plan, which will include grant-writing, hosting public meetings, sending out community surveys to gather input and analyzing the town’s demographics, environment, land use, community character and infrastructure, amongst other things.

“I’d be really excited to get more community input on how our town wants to grow,” KenCairn said.

Before discussing the town’s comprehensive plan, the board unanimously approved the renewal of Chelsea’s liquor license, a procedural step Andy and Jaila Benjamin took to re-open the longstanding Oak Creek Chinese restaurant.

The Benjamins, who own the restaurant, closed it in November 2006 after opening a second location in Steamboat Springs, which closed in February.

“We’re glad you’re re-opening,” KenCairn said, as the board clapped and said “yay” when the renewal came up.

Board member Dave Fisher asked Jaila Benjamin to elaborate on the couple’s business plan, which she declined.

“Our intent is to re-open,” said Jaila Benjamin. “We’ll let everyone know more when we know more.”

In other business, the Town Board:

– Agreed to temporarily move its scheduled time for reports or items of concern from board members to the top of the meeting agenda, with the option to make it a permanent change.

– Approved the use of Decker Park for youth soccer at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays from May through June.

– Approved its minutes from April 12.

– Heard general concerns from board member Steve “Spike” Beven, including planting new trees and discouraging existing tree removal; beautifying Nancy Crawford Boulevard by planting trees or shrubbery, likening the boulevard to the “back alley of a Chicago street;” increasing the pay scale for the town’s public works department; and increasing affordable housing in Oak Creek by having the town purchase and sell lots to residents.

– Scheduled two capital improvement project work sessions to develop a possible April 2008 mill levy ballot question at 5:30 p.m. June 7 and 21.

– Tabled a decision regarding an electrical rate study.

– Amended the town’s employee handbook to reflect changes regarding employee insurance and employee compensation.

– Agreed to purchase a new $202,527 Caterpillar 143H motor grader.

– To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com


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