St. Paul’s Fowler Lake open discussion sees more comments than questions

By Ryan Billingham - Enterprise Staff

August 28, 2014

Mayor Jim Daley fields questions in St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. 
Ryan Billingham/Enterprise Staff

OCONOMOWOC — Approximately 80 community members gathered at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Monday night to discuss a 30-unit condominium project that would stand next door to the 150 year old building.

The church invited several participants including Mayor Jim Daley, developer Jeff Seymour and several city officials to discuss the proposed Fowler Lake Village.

Community members were invited to ask questions, but the crowd mostly made comments, and most were in opposition to the project — some passionately so.

The crowd’s concerns about the project remained similar to previous meetings: the land swap between Seymour and the city for several blighted properties on Pleasant Street, access and safety of the design, size and scale of the project and the perceived wasted potential of public lakeshore.

Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Leidel was present and eased concern about fire and emergency services access. In the proposed plan there would be only one access point off of Pleasant Street into the area behind City Hall and in front of the proposed development.

Leidel said there are similar access layouts in the city and he is confident the current design would work.

Another concern was the financial safety of the loan the city is offering Seymour and his group. Daley reassured the crowd that the city faces little risk thanks mostly to First Bank Financial Centre’s willingness to purchase the city bonds immediately but admitted that most of the current agreements are verbal only due in large part to the inability of Seymour to sign contracts until a developer’s agreement is passed by the Common Council.

Seymour owns several blighted homes on Pleasant Street that would be swapped for the land the city owns where he would then build the mixed-use condominium building.

That didn’t sit well with some.

One community member said it was a matter of “human decency” that Seymour should have taken care of the properties and removed any hazards to the surrounding neighborhood.

Daley answered all of the questions, except a few directed to Leidel. At one point in the meeting Daley asked the crowd to give a show of hands to see if anyone wanted to hear the developer speak, but none did.

Later in the meeting, however, Daley came under harsh criticism by one citizen for being the only person to speak.

Seymour remained quiet during the entire two-hour long discussion.

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