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Referendum to decide town of Summit’s fate

The town of Summit is leaving it up to voters for the decision on whether or not to incorporate. (Photo courtesy of the town of Summit website)

The town of Summit is leaving it up to voters for the decision on whether or not to incorporate as a village. (Photo courtesy of the town of Summit website)

By Keith Barber

More decision making and control in Summit may come to town officials if voters approve a referendum today to incorporate as a village.

Polls are open until 8 p.m. at the Summit Town Hall, 2911 N. Dousman Road, Oconomowoc. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue approved the town’s incorporation petition on March 29.

As Waukesha County growth continues westward, this community of about 5,100 residents has been subject to land annexations for several years from neighboring cities of Oconomowoc and Dousman. And even though the bordering city of Delafield has not petitioned for annexation of lands, they could do so as long as the town of Summit remains a town.

The incorporation concept has been brewing at town hall for at least 10 years as residents and officials have seen land chopped off and annexed to neighboring communities. Established in 1837, the town has a total area of 28.5 square miles.

As a requirement in the incorporation process, the town has had to negotiate a cooperative boundary agreement with all neighboring communities. No agreements have been reached with the city of Delafield as yet.

All zoning issues are presently settled by Waukesha County, which has jurisdiction over land within 1,000 feet of a lake and within 300 feet of a wetland, floodplain or stream.

As an incorporated village, Summit would have to enact their own zoning, subdivision and development codes, as well as establishing an elected village board. The Village Board issue would most likely be on the September ballot if the referendum passes.

As a village, Summit would likely receive more in shared revenue from the state. A change in tax structure is likely, and dependent on new village board members.

If approved, the new village wouldn’t have to stage everything by itself. It would still share services with some communities, such as a sewer service area and a newly completed fire station between Oconomowoc and Summit.

To learn more about the town and to view the referendum content, visit the town’s website.

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Keith Barber is a data reporter with The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (414) 225-1821.

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