ROCHESTER — In what could be the village’s largest housing development in 15 years, a developer has acquired more than 100 acres of farmland for new single-family homes.
Paul and Barb Berre have completed a $2.2 million sale of their farm at 733 N. English Settlement Avenue, where they raised cows, pigs and other livestock during the past 50 years.
The buyer, JS Development LLC, has presented the village with plans for transforming the farm into 38 single-family lots selling for $150,000 to $200,000 each.
The 112-acre farm is just south of the Rookery Landing subdivision, which produced about 25 new single-family homes on 120 acres starting around 2007 — the last significant housing spurt in Rochester.
Village President Edward Chart said he hopes the western Racine County community’s estimated 4,000 residents will welcome the new Oakmere Farm subdivision as healthy and well-managed growth.
“You’d like to keep the farmland,” Chart said. “But you’ve got to grow in the other way, too.”
The development plans have won tentative approval from the Rochester Planning Commission, but still must be approved by the Rochester Village Board.
JS Development is owned by Jim Schilling, who lives in Rochester and once served as the village’s engineer.
Former landowner Paul Berre said he and his wife decided to give up the farm — which they named Oakmere Farm — because they had reached retirement age and because they had seen development taking place all around them.
“It was just time for us to take a different path,” he said.
A former Village Board member himself, Berre, 74, said he is friends with Schilling and he approves of the development plan. He likes that the developer is keeping the original farmhouse, as well as a natural pond and other wetlands.
The plan also calls for naming a new road “Berre Lane” in honor of the former farm owners.
“I am pleased that someone like Jim is going to do it,” Berre said.
The $2.2 million real estate deal was completed in November, and the Berres officially left the farm Dec. 31.
Schilling’s company is based in Burlington and has previously developed residential properties in the Waterford and Muskego areas. The company was behind the Long Lake Estates development of 89 single-family lots in the Town of Norway.
‘Great little community’
With Oakmere Farm, the developer plans to renovate the original farmhouse and sell it on a 10-acre lot. The rest of the lots will be four acres or smaller, and the homes likely will start at about 1,800 square feet in size.
JS Development is run by Schilling and his wife, Shelly Schilling.
Schilling said he and his wife had no plans to pursue more developments, but they were taken by the beauty of the Oakmere Farm property. As Rochester residents, they hope for a project that highlights the village’s natural beauty.
“It’s a great little community,” he said. “And I want to share that with other people.”
The project site is just east of another big development, Fox River Prairie, which got started around 2002 with plans for 70 new single-family homes.
Chart said village leaders are trying to offer “country living” as an enticement to new residents, but without permitting too much development too quickly.
Schilling seems like a conscientious developer, the village president said, and Rochester needs a little growth now and then to keep from becoming stagnant.
“We have to have some of that, just to keep moving,” he said. “It’s not like we do one of these every year.”
With photos: Home with Wind Point Lighthouse view on the market for $799,900
Welcome to 4707 Lighthouse Drive
Come on in!
The elegant entry
Relax in the living room
The dining room
Family room with a view
Deck off of the family room
The master bedroom
The master patio
Main floor bedroom
The lower living room
The lower kitchen
Second lower bedroom
Third lower bedroom
Fourth lower bedroom
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