Prestwick project loses Delafield vote
Two council members vote ‘no’

By Kelly Smith - Special to The Freeman

Feb. 20, 2018

DELAFIELD — The Prestwick Group’s plans to move its corporate headquarters from Sussex to Delafield, near the interchange of Interstate 94 and Hwy. C, failed to muster the required six votes from the seven-member Common Council after nearly four hours of debate and deliberation Monday night.

Alds. Al Zietlow and Jackie Valde voted against an ordinance that would have changed the zoning of a five-acre parcel of land on the proposed 28-acre development site from agricultural to business use.

They also voted against an ordinance that would have created a special development district for the 71,000 square-foot corporate headquarters along with a gathering center and event barn during the first phase of construction.

Another 68,000 square feet of office space for sale or lease is proposed in the second phase of the project.

City Attorney James Hammes explained to the council that six votes were required to adopt the ordinances because a sufficient number of neighbors living with 100 feet and owning at least 20 percent of the land adjacent to the development had filed formal protests.

“I cannot vote for a pig in poke,” said Zietlow.

He and Velde argued the council should have the details of the terms and conditions of the planned unit development agreement and the conditional use permit before being asked to rezone the property and create the special district.

They argued there are two many unanswered questions regarding development plans and whether the city would be willing to extend sewer service across the interstate and who would pay for the additional utility service.

“I have two college degrees. I am a smart woman and there is still a lot I don’t understand here, and I cannot vote for something I don’t understand,” Velde said.

Aldermen Tim Aicher and Kent Attwell tried to persuade their colleagues to allow the ordinances to be adopted so the review process for the development could continue.

“The best way to get your questions answered is to allow the process to continue,” said Attwell.

Attwell and Zietlow will face each other in the city’s mayoral contest during the April 3 municipal election.

Mayor Michele DeYoe is not seeking re-election.

Compromise attempted, rejected

Former Mayor and Ald. Jim Behrend attempted a compromise by suggesting an amendment to require a 100-foot buffer from neighbors along the southern border of the development and limit the use of the event barn to only corporate events.

Velde and Zietlow voted no.

Nearly a dozen residents spoke for nearly two hours in opposition to the development.

They criticized the process the city was following in considering the development and argued the event barn would disrupt the neighborhood and lower property values.

The company, which used recycled materials to produce outdoor equipment and furnishes, said it wanted the event barn to be available for community events as well as serve as a wedding and banquet venue.

“Upward and forward is my comment,” said Matt Morse, who founded the company in 1997, after the vote.

“We still have options,” he added while leaving City Hall.

<<EARLIER: Prestwick Group needs 6 of 7 council votes