MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. — Village trustees recently voted to allow the leasing of portions of the Foxconn development area to local farmers.
The board voted in favor of leasing 966 acres in areas II and III to Tom Fliess Jr. at $180 per acre for a total of $173,000. Fliess sold his property to the village for $1.675 million in August 2018. In Area III there will be 50 acres leased to Joe Cramer at $180 per acre for a total of $9,000. Each lease lasts only a year. Each party, including the village, can terminate the lease with a 30-day notice.
Area II is located south of Wisconsin Highway 11, east of Interstate 94, west of County Road H and north of Braun Road. Area III is located south of Braun Road, east of County Road H, west of 90th Street and north of County Road KR.
During the Committee of the Whole meeting just before the Village Board meeting, trustees debated the use of village land that has not been conveyed to Foxconn. Trustee Gary Feest said he didn’t like the idea of the village leasing land that was originally purchased for the purpose of Foxconn development.
“I’m a little uncomfortable that the village is becoming a land broker here,” Feest said.
Village President Dave DeGroot asked Feest if he would be okay with weeds growing on the property.
“I guess to the degree of principle, yes,” Feest said. “I’ll suffer through a year. It’s just we buy all of this land, remove the people from it and now we’re making money from it. I’m a little uneasy with it.”
Claude Lois, village project manager on Foxconn, said the company is aware the village is leasing the land and doesn’t have a problem with that. As part of the agreement, Lois said village personnel can still go onto the property that is being leased and will not need to pay for any potential crop damage.
The property has been zoned as a “business park” and no longer for agricultural uses. But Lois said because the land was previously used for agricultural work and was zoned agricultural, the farming can be grandfathered in to be in line with local ordinances.