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Potential new development draws concern from neighbors

Orchard Hills Rural Road

TOWN OF WASHINGTON (WQOW) - A new housing development might be coming to the Lowes Creek neighborhood of the Town of Washington in coming years, and while there is a need for more housing in Eau Claire County, some neighbors are concerned.

The development, Orchard Hills, is the vision of C&E Wurzer Builders. It would include 116 homes across 235 acres, with the lots ranging from one to five acres in size. C&E owner, Craig Wurzer, said keeping the lots that size is important to keeping the overall cost of the property low for potential buyers. He also said the acres not used for residential land will be for community use and environmental conservation.

"We truly believe that we are doing everything we can to provide housing, but also make sure that we did think about all of the details that could effect the neighbors and the township and I think this is a very good happy medium," Wurzer said.

However, some neighbors believe that happy medium has not been struck, citing concerns of an increase in traffic to the neighborhood's rural roads.

One of those residents that's concerned is Casey Johnson, who said the beauty of the Town of Washington is that the area is rural while being within miles of town. He is worried this proposal's high density of homes and subsequently added traffic would take the charm away.

Johnson is not the only neighbor who feels this way. In fact, the neighborhood association has created a petition which is up to 160 signatures, with the intention to stop Orchard Hills from being re-zoned into more homes.

He said the neighborhood isn't opposed to development but believes any future changes should reflect the rural charm that comes with living in Washington.

"I mean, we understand that things are going to get developed. I think that we want to develop it reasonably or responsibly to kind of keep what Washington township means as far as the rural settings," Johnson said.

On Thursday, the Town of Washington will also vote on whether or not to re-zone the land.

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Felicity Bosk

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