Town of Milton gravel pit proposal could face competing offer
TOWN OF MILTON--A California dairy owner with ties to Milton has a proposal he says would prevent a wooded hillside that borders Storr’s Lake Wildlife Area from becoming a gravel pit.
He wants to see the land instead turned into a nature conservancy—and he’s got a plan he believes could win over landowner Scott Traynor and Milton town officials.
In an interview with The Gazette Tuesday, Mulder Dairy Farms owner Bill Watson said he’s putting together an offer intended to shoo away a controversial plan by Elkhorn company B.R. Amon & Sons to develop a gravel pit on a farm property east of North Klug Road.
Watson, a Rock County native, has owned dairies and farmland in the county for decades.
Watson’s been involved in other deals in Rock County in recent years, including a failed bid to swap farm properties with the county as part of a proposal to build a new county fairgrounds and minor league baseball park on the south end of Janesville.
Under his potential offer, the 137-acre parcel of land, which is wedged between dozens of residences and state protected wetlands, would remain in its current state—a hilly mix of oak woods and crop fields that act as a natural buffer between developed land and the sensitive marsh ecosystem at Storr’s Lake Wildlife Area.
The plan would involve a deal between interested conservancy foundations or, possibly, the state Department of Natural Resources, which manages the adjacent marsh area.
“It would be possible if the DNR or the nature conservancy or any of the groups that I’ve had experience with could make an agreement with the landowner to buy his land,” Watson said. “He (Scott Traynor) would keep his current use and in return he could likely get a tax exchange that could allow him to expand his property (elsewhere).
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