OCONOMOWOC - After a brief holiday break, Fowler
Lake Village is back, and it brought lawyers.
The embattled and ultimately doomed project is
rearing its head again in the form of a request for a judicial
review filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court on Wednesday.
Lawyers representing Fowler Lake Village LLC and
Rockwell Development LLC filed a document that asks the court to
review the proceedings conducted by the city of Oconomowoc and,
in particular, the Common Council regarding its decision to deny
a developer’s agreement for Fowler Lake Village, a mixed-use
condominium complex downtown.
According to the request, the city and Common
Council “acted in an arbitrary, unreasonable, and capricious
manner, and exercised its will rather than its judgement” when
it denied the developer’s agreement on Dec. 2.
Mayor Jim Daley said “from a general standpoint”
he was not surprised by the action, but said he had only just
heard about the document from City Attorney Bill Chapman and
could not discuss any details, since he had not seen it himself.
“We will spend the next couple months or so
working toward a resolution in which the city is well
represented throughout the process,” he said.
The project drew harsh criticism from many
residents, and for several months council meetings were packed
with residents opposing the project. A grass-roots social media
campaign called “Stop the Swap” cropped up and finally the
council rejected the Fowler Lake Village developer’s agreement
on Dec. 2 and effectively killed the project.
“At the end of the day I have taken a lot of
pride in trying to maintain a process that for everyone who
interacts with the city is fair,” Daley said.
The request asks the court require the city and
Common Council to submit a complete record of all matters and
activities undertaken by the city regarding its work with the
In July, 2012 the Community Development Authority
approved a Memorandum of Understanding - a less formal agreement
that outlines each party’s responsibilities during a project -
with the two development groups.
If the court finds the decision arbitrary, the
review request asks the court grant relief to the plaintiffs, or
that it remand the matter to the Common Council with the
directions that it determine appropriate funding for the project
in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding.
Alderman Matt Rosek, a vocal critic of the
project, said it was too early for him to comment as well, since
he had not heard about the request.