Lac La Belle trustee predicts no Prestwick headquarters
Residents voice concern about effects on quiet lake area

By Kelly Smith - Special to The Freeman

June 28, 2018

A yard sign along scenic Saeger Avenue expresses opposition to the Prestwick Group’s proposed corporate headquarters in the village of Lac La Belle.
Kelly Smith/Special to The Freeman

LAC LA BELLE — A Lac La Belle village trustee predicted Tuesday night there is “a high probability” that the Prestwick Group will decide not to build a new corporate headquarters adjacent to the Lac La Belle golf course the company is rebuilding.

“In my opinion there is a high probability it may not happen,” said Village Trustee Mark Wille.

Wille told nearly 100 people who attended a three-hour informational meeting on the project that the company’s owners, “may not accept some of the requirements that the Plan Commission will have.”

Village Board approval of rezoning necessary for the headquarters could require the votes of four of five trustees according to a state law mentioned by Claire Thompkins of the Town of Oconomowoc.

She was among nearly two dozen citizens who raised questions or voiced concerns about the company’s plans to rebuild the golf course and construct a 60,000-square-foot corporate headquarters adjacent to the course.

She said if enough qualified town or village property owners adjacent to the land being rezoned filed formal objections with the village, a super majority vote of the Village Board could be required.

Delafield residents used the law to block Prestwick’s plans for a corporate headquarters near the interchange of Highway C and Interstate 94.

Lac La Belle Village President Tim Clark addresses the nearly 100 Town of Oconomowoc and Lac La Belle residents who attended a public information meeting Tuesday night about the Prestwick Group's proposed corporate headquarters near the Lac La Belle golf course.
Kelly Smith/Special to The Freeman

However, it is unclear whether residents of the Town of Oconomowoc could impose the requirement on the village of Lac La Belle.

Village Administrator George Stumpf told the audience while construction work has begun on the golf course the process for approving the headquarters has not begun.

“We have not seen a design. We don’t know what it will look like. We don’t how big the building will be,” added Village President Tim Clark. However, Stumpf warned if the company decided not to build the headquarters, the village would lose $10 million in additional tax base that is guaranteed in the developer’s agreement between the village and Prestwick.

However, Clark Grimsley, a Milwaukee resident who owns a summer home in the village, questioned whether the additional tax dollars were worth the risk to the village’s unique lifestyle.

“Will the money give us more beautiful days on the lake?” he asked.

“Will the money let us enjoy quiet walks in the village?”

“Will the money make sure we have clean, clear lake water?” he concluded.

Grimsley accused the board of “ramming through” a developer’s agreement with Prestwick.

He suggested the board slow down the process and make changes in the agreement that was approved following a 90-minute closed session of the board on May 2.

Lac La Belle Village Trustee Mark Wille predicted the Prestwick Group would decide not to locate its headquarters in the village because of requirements by the Plan Commission.
Kelly Smith/Special to The Freeman

The village president acknowledged the Village Board should have done a better job informing its constituents.

“Time was of the essence,” Clark said.

Clark explained that Prestwick represented an opportunity for the village to enter into agreement with a corporation with the assets to improve the golf course and help the village address some stormwater runoff issues.

Clark said he feared if the Village Board did not act quickly there might not be another redevelopment opportunity for the golf course, which he said is an important asset to the community.

Wille told The Freeman after Tuesday night’s meeting he was “more comfortable” with the golf course plans but remained concerned about the corporate headquarters.

Some of his constituents apparently shared his opinion.

About 10 yard signs expressing opposition to the corporate headquarters but saying nothing about the golf course were posted along Lang Road and Saeger Avenue.

Residents living along the quiet and scenic two-lane roads expressed concern about additional traffic created by the headquarters and rebuilt golf course.

Since the roads are within the Town of Oconomowoc’s jurisdiction, town residents would have to approve money spent to improve the roads.

There were divided opinions about stormwater runoff and flooding Gary Perrault and Karen Carr both live along golf course fairways that frequently flood.

Carr, a commissioner of the lake management district, believes the improvements on the golf course proposed by Prestwick will improve stormwater runoff control and the water quality of the lake.

Perrault said some of the plans for reconfiguring a stream through the golf course will not improve, and may make stormwater runoff worse.

Village officials invited Prestwick owners Matt and Tyler Morse to the meeting but they declined, Stumpf said.

<<EARLIER: Special meeting on golf course plan tonight