This engineer’s drawing shows the planned layout of the Canopy Hill housing development proposed in Union Grove.

Residential development to feature 188 single-family homes

By Dave Fidlin


A Union Grove committee devoted to development-related issues within the village gave its consent to a number of big-picture and granular details linked to a large-scale housing proposal that has been under the microscope a number of times in 2020.

The village Plan Commission at its most recent meeting issued approvals to a five-point list of agenda items linked to Canopy Hill, a 160-acre residential project. Some of the approvals — including certified survey maps — were technical, while other agenda items took a big-picture look at the project.

Kenosha-based Bear Development has been helming the logistical aspects of Canopy Hill, set to occupy land on the west side of South Colony Avenue, north of 7th Avenue.

A number of refinements have been made to Canopy Hill, which first bubbled to the surface in its latest incarnation early in 2019. While a variety of housing styles are included in planning documents, single-family homes are the centerpiece of the project.

In the latest sets of plans, which commissioners reviewed at their Dec. 7 meeting, the Canopy Hill site encompasses 188 single-family lots. Also in the equation are 66 condominium units, comprised of 33 townhome duplexes and four ranch duplexes.

Rounding out the site plans are 60 multi-family units, housed within three buildings of 20 units apiece. In the latest sets of plans, Bear executives also have announced the earmarking of a 3.39-acre lot for a senior living development.

Before acting on each of the five agenda items, commissioners held a public hearing. Concerns of the impact the new development would have on Union Grove were raised, primarily in terms of the local schools.

But municipal officials and the developers behind Canopy Hill each said they did not believe the project would result in a sudden, unexpected surge in students attending Union Grove Elementary or Union Grove High schools.

Trustee Jan Winget, who chairs the Plan Commission, said superintendents with each of the village’s school districts have been allocating seats for out-of-district students through Wisconsin’s open enrollment program — the result of empty classroom seats that can be filled.

“We know they have a lot of open enrollment, which will probably be decreased, given the number of new students,” Winget said.

Speaking from his vantage point, S.R. Mills, head of Bear Development, said Canopy Hill is not going to sprout up suddenly. While it is anticipated more school-age children will eventually live within Union Grove by virtue of the development, Mills said it would occur over a succession of years.

“This is going to take a long, long time,” Mills said. “This is not something that is going to happen overnight.”

Canopy Hill was first discussed in 2007, but was mothballed for more than a decade when the economic housing crisis of 2008 ensued. The project was eventually dusted off a year ago as Bear Development representatives began pitching proposals for the site.

Further updates on Canopy Hill will likely go before the Plan Commission in the coming months as more details go before the appointed body.