Fowler Lake Village backs off; aldermen call for vote
$12.8 million budget passes while crowd displays angst about single condo project

By Ryan Billingham - Enterprise Staff

Nov. 6, 2014

OCONOMOWOC — The Oconomowoc Common Council listened to 18 people — one for and 17 against — discuss the Fowler Lake Village development project at its Tuesday meeting, while only two people spoke at a public hearing about the city’s 2015 $12 million budget, which was approved later in the evening.

Just before the opposition to the condo project spoke, however, Mayor Jim Daley announced the development group was no longer at the table and he didn’t know exactly where it stood going forward.

The agenda item was pulled Monday when the attorney for the group sent an email asking it be shelved for a later date to better address community concerns, something that angered both the crowd and some aldermen.

Two hours later, near the end of the meeting, the issue was brought up again when Alderman Matt Rosek made a motion to hold a public hearing, public discussion and a vote on whether to keep or rescind a previous resolution the council approved regarding the Community Development Authority’s vote to agree to a memorandum of understanding.

That motion passed 5-3 with one abstention from Alderman Ken Herro. Aldermen Charlie Shaw and David Nold voted against the motion.

Amid the public outcry over the condo project, the council also passed the city’s annual budget.

Only two people addressed the council in a public hearing about the 2015 budget.

Forcing a vote

Rosek’s approved motion will put a public hearing, a discussion period and a vote on whether or not to rescind a resolution the council passed in June on the Nov. 18 council agenda. That resolution was a nod by the council to the memorandum of understanding — a document that outlines what would be the responsibilities of two parties in an agreement — between the Fowler Lake developers and the city. It was an early step toward approving a developer’s agreement. Any developer’s agreement would be binding and is what many detractors of the Fowler Lake Village project have been showing up to discourage, though it has never officially been on the agenda. It was scheduled to be on the agenda at least three times but has been scrapped each time.

“The council could have potentially taken it up many times, but it has languished now for so long,” Rosek said after the meeting.

He said there’s no need to delay it any longer and he felt it was a “stalling tactic” by the mayor and developers to decrease public awareness of the issue.

During the meeting, Daley said he had no real idea what the developers’ plans are and that he received the last-minute email asking for removal of the item just as city staff and the aldermen did.

If the council were to rescind its resolution, the CDA’s approval would still be valid, but Rosek said he feels it would render that meaningless and the vote would put an end to this iteration of the project.