Prestwick Group needs 6 of 7 council votes
Super majority required for development approval

By Kelly Smith - Special to The Freeman

Feb. 13, 2018

DELAFIELD — The Prestwick Group will need affirmative votes from 6 of 7 Common Council members on two key issues to develop a new corporate headquarters on 28 acres of land near the interchange of Hwy. C and Interstate 94.

City Attorney James Hammes has told The Freeman state laws require the super majority vote if enough qualified neighbors of the project file protests to the city objecting to a proposed rezoning and the creation of a special development district.

Hammes said he has notified Interim City Clerk Jeanne O’Brien that a sufficient number of residents have protested to require the super majority vote of the council.

The city clerk is responsible for determining if the objections are valid in accordance with state law.

Hammes said valid protests have been filed objecting to both the proposed rezoning of five acres of land from agricultural to business within the 28 acres and the creation of the special district.

According to state law, a valid protest occurs if owners of 20 percent of the land within 100 feet of the parcel to be rezoned object and if owners of 20 percent of the land within 100 feet of the boundaries of the special district object.

There are six protestors who own 20 percent of the land adjacent to the special district and one of them lives within 100 feet and owns 20 percent of the land adjacent to the five acres proposed to be rezoned, according to Lynda Holton, one of the leaders of the neighbors objecting to the proposal.

Prestwick wants to build a 71,000 square-foot corporate headquarters along with a gathering center and event barn during the first phase of the project and another 68,000 square feet in office space to be developed for lease or sale in the second phase.

The company withdrew plans to include a 63,000 square-foot assembly plant on the development site.

The company uses recycled materials to assemble outdoor furnishings and equipment for corporate clients including some of the world’s most prestigious golf courses.

Hammes has told city officials that to approve the project, the Common Council must approve a zoning change, a change in the land use master plan and a conditional use permit as well as create a special district.

Opposition leader questions time frame

Lyn Holton, another opposition leader, questioned why it took Hammes so long to determine that the super majority vote was required to change the zoning and create the special district.

In an email to The Freeman, Holton noted the protests were filed with the city in the last week of January.

“Why does it take three weeks for city hall to figure that out? Why are they waiting to determine that it has to go to super-majority? What is the benefit to them to delay the validity (of the petitions),” she asked.

City officials pointed out the first step was for Hammes and O’Brien to determine whether the signatures on the forms were valid and whether the protest documents were in accordance with state law.

The next step was for City Planner Roger Dupler to identify the legal boundaries of the six properties owned by the protestors, to determine whether they were within 100 of feet of the proposed special district or the parcel to be rezoned, and whether the protestors owned 20 percent of the land adjacent to the special district.

Dupler was then to forward his findings to Hammes.

There was a difference of opinion between Dupler and the leaders of the opponents whether the six protestors were qualified.

But, Hammes said it would provide the benefit of the doubt to the protestors.

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