MEQUON — More
than a year of deliberations and drama will come to a head Tuesday
over whether the city will sell the Logemann Center property to a
former alderman who wants to build a restaurant there.
Common Council’s 5-3 vote Nov. 14 to authorize a contract to sell
the site to John Leszcynski was vetoed the next day by Mayor Dan
Abendroth. The issue will come up – presumably for the last time –
Tuesday as aldermen see if they can garner the necessary six votes
to override the veto.
served one three-year term on the Common Council, wants to build the
Backwoods Pub & Grill with a deck overlooking Rennicke Field. He
said he hopes aldermen will reverse the veto and give the city’s
Planning Commission an opportunity to weigh in on the biggest
sticking point – parking.
development director and the mayor have been opposed to the
restaurant,” Leszcynski told the News Graphic. “The parking study
has proven to be heavily biased – so much so that the council
couldn’t rely on the results. I think the council would at least
want the Planning Commission to take a swing at this thing and give
their expertise on whether there is enough parking.”
this week he vetoed the sale because the land should remain public.
“I don’t think
the city should sell land in the civic campus to a private entity,”
he said. “That land should remain in the public realm. We don’t know
what the future holds for the civic campus and we should keep the
land for that.”
other supporters of the development argue that the city already has
sold land it
owned – both for the first phase of the Town Center and Spur 16, a
retail and residential development planned for the former Public
Works site just west of the railroad tracks along Mequon Road.
different,” Abendroth countered. “That was an underutilized piece of
property and it created over $30 million worth of development value
that we created in order to get the Town Center concept moving. A
$1.5 million restaurant wouldn’t add anything to it – and there’s
not enough parking.”
contract was approved 5-3, one more alderman would have to support
the restaurant to reach the six votes needed to override the veto.
The News Graphic reached out to all eight aldermen this week and
asked how they will vote. Four responded; four did not. While some
said they would not disclose how they would vote, nobody said their
position has changed.
“For me, it’s
always been about the parking,” said Andrew Nerbun, who was one of
the three aldermen who opposed the sale. “We’re in the situation now
with Town Center 1 due to parking. Demand was understated by the
developer. We went with it and we have what we have now. The risk of
making another similar mistake in the same area has, thus far,
outweighed the potential benefit.”
that “you’ll have to wait for next week” to see how he will vote on
overriding the veto.
Schneider, who also opposed the sale, said she will not be changing
property is central to the civic campus, park and Town Center
businesses,” she said. “A discussion about whether the city should
sell this property – as well as issues such as lack of parking –
should have occurred in advance of the request for proposals.
“There is not
enough parking to accommodate a restaurant of this size on this
property, per two parking studies, and if built would negatively
impact surrounding businesses and the American Legion.”
Glenn Bushee and
John Hawkins, who supported the sale, said they do not intend to
change how they voted.
“I will continue
to support the restaurant,” Hawkins said. “The restaurant would be a
quality addition to the city and will add revenue. There are simple
solutions to the parking issue, but attempts to discuss them were
routinely shut down.
from the consultant that the only solution was to build a massive
structure on the baseball diamond was outrageous,” he added. “It
reminded me of school boards that claim that ‘unless the
multi-million-dollar referendum is passed, we will be forced to
cancel football and music.’ If the veto is successful, it will be a
Strzelczyk, Dale Mayr, John Wirth and Mark Gierl did not reply.
Vetoes are rare
in Mequon. It’s been 13 years since the last one. Mayor Christine
Nuernberg vetoed a memo of understanding that related to installing
speed bumps in the Stonefield subdivision in 2004. She was
overridden on a 6-1 vote, according to City Clerk Caroline Fochs.
Abendroth’s veto will be on Tuesday’s Common Council agenda, a
member must make a motion to override it. If that doesn’t occur,
that is the end of the process.
The mayor said
the public will have an opportunity to speak. Members of the nearby
American Legion post, who have repeatedly voiced concern about the
lack of parking in the area, are expected to attend. Leszcynski said
Tuesday he is not certain if he will ask some of his supporters to
this is his final stand. He remains enthusiastic about building a
restaurant on the Logemann site, but said he likely won’t pursue an
“If the mayor
kills this deal, I don’t think any sane person would go through this
process again,” he said.
Meeting set for
If you go: The
Mequon Common Council will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall,
11333 N. Cedarburg Road. It will take up Mayor Dan Abendroth’s veto
in November of a contract to sell the Logemann Center to a developer
who wants to build a restaurant.
How they voted: In
November, the Mequon Common Council voted 5-3 to approve the sale.
Voting yes were Glenn Bushee, Mark Gierl, John Hawkins, Dale Mayr
and John Wirth. Voting no were Andrew Nerbun, Kathleen Schneider and
If the mayor’s
veto stands what are the next steps?
By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic
MEQUON — If
Mayor Dan Abendroth prevails and his veto stands, what’s next for
the Logemann property?
The Lokre Companies, the
Plover-based developer that now owns Mequon Town Center 1, presented
a competing offer to purchase the property in October. Its “purchase
price” involves spending $200,000 to remove the Logemann building
and add additional parking with the aim of relieving congestion in
its parking lot.
Other than a
very brief discussion in October, aldermen voted unanimously to
table the Lokre offer, essentially kicking the can down the road
until a decision is made on John Leszcynski’s offer.
this week it’s possible the Common Council will consider the Lokre
proposal in January.
Mequon also has
grant money available through the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage
District for green infrastructure that can be applied toward a
parking lot. There is an expiration date on tapping those funds, the
possibilities for the site include enhancing the area near the
Ozaukee Interurban Trail to provide a rest area and other amenities
for trail users.
of the Foxtown development on the south side of Mequon Road
previously have proposed an ambitious plan to upgrade the Rennicke
Field baseball diamond, the city pool and other portions of the
civic campus. The developers put those plans on the back burner as
discussions regarding Leszcynski’s Backwoods Pub & Grill continued.
residents, including Kerry Ann Quimi, have addressed the Common
Council at recent meetings to voice support for the Foxtown plan.
Some obtained approximately 300 signatures on petitions opposing the
plans for the restaurant, which they said would exacerbate existing
In an email to
the News Graphic, Quimi said the action by three aldermen and mayor
to oppose selling the land “paves the way for longtime reputable
residents, Foxtown Ventures, to upgrade the city park, pool and
sports field and welcome back young families who frequent
neighboring cities’ pools and parks, revitalizing the Town Center
and beautifying our park campus for generations to come.”
there are a variety of steps that can be taken with the property.
“There are a
number of hypotheticals waiting for this circus to stop,” he said.
<<EARLIER: Logemann’s future gets even murkier