Oconomowoc council votes to allow drug and rehab center in city
Aldermen also pass redevelopment agreement for Fowler Lake Village

By Jake Meister - Freeman Staff

Oct. 4, 2017

The majority of the gallery within the Oconomowoc Common Council Chambers was mostly smiling Tuesday night after two very different, well buzzed-about endeavors were approved following limited discussion.

The council first approved a conditional use permit and two associated ordinances that will allow a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, Ladders Recovery Community, to operate at 1331 W. Capitol Drive.

The council also approved the redevelopment agreement for Fowler Lake Village, a five-story, 180,000-square-foot mixed use condominium development all but assured to be built on Fowler Lake LLCís vacant land at the corner of St. Paul Street and East Pleasant Avenue, across from City Hall.

The steps up the Ladders

The path to the pro-Ladders vote wasnít easy. On Aug. 22, the council approved the first reading related to rezoning the 5.3 acre parcel at 1331 W. Capitol Drive from industrial to a general commercial district following a public comment period that likely made that council meeting the most heated of 2017. The other reading changed the land use designation for the parcel to a general commercial district.

Both items pertaining to zoning were not signed off by the Oconomowoc Plan Commission during its Aug. 9 meeting, which also boasted a well-attended public comment period.

According to city documents, the commissionís reasons for not supporting the measures included a desire not to remove more than 5 acres of industrial land from the city and keep the industrial land use consistent with other areas. The commission also reasoned that a subdivision to the west of the property was platted with the expectation that the zoning would remain industrial and that property owners in the area expect it to stay so.

But at that Aug. 22 council meeting, the crowd heavily supported the facility, as did the council. A few businesses in the area of 1331 W. Capitol Drive voiced concerns, but other businesses in that same area showed support.

On Tuesday night, Alderman Matt Rosek asked City Planner Jason Gallo if the city has received any complaints from homeowners in the area of 1331 W. Capitol Drive regarding the possible addition of Ladders.

Gallo said the city has received no such complaints that he was aware of and the only complaint from a business was the same the council had heard at the last meeting.

Then the issue of safety was rehashed.

City Attorney Stan Riffle said that if the Oconomowoc Police Department or other emergency responders get excessive calls to Ladders, Ladders Operator Jacob Jansen would be brought before the council for a meeting in which the aldermen would decide whether it wants to revoke the conditional use permit. Oconomowoc Public Safety Director and Police Chief Ron Buerger said he is comfortable with Jansenís plan for Ladders.

Fowler Lake Village a near guarantee

After very little discussion, the council approved the redevelopment agreement for Fowler Lake Village.

Before the build can start, the certified survey map and condominium plant will have to be approved by the Plan Commission and council.

Email: jmeister@conleynet.com