LAC LA BELLE — Village officials
are not being transparent about changes in the village’s Smart
Growth Plan that are intended to accommodate the Prestwick Group’s
new golf course and proposed corporate headquarters, according to
Virginia “Ginny” Pease told The Freeman more detailed and more
easily accessible information needs to be provided by village
officials, so they can have “a more robust” discussion with village
residents about the proposals.
Pease argues the amendments in the Smart Growth plan represent
significant and long-term changes in village philosophy and plans
regarding land use, zoning, and permitting commercial development.
Michael Findley suggested there would be less “angst” and “tension”
between some residents and village officials if information was more
Findley and Kelly Spaulding were both critical of the village’s
failure to include details of the proposal, meeting notices, and
proposed changes to the village’s Smart Growth plan on the village’s
Village complying with state law, says attorney
Village Attorney Hector de la Mora told The Freeman the village is
complying with state law by posting notices and agenda in the three
The village, population less than 300, has no village hall and a
De la Mora added that additional financial and human resources would
be needed to improve the village’s website.
State law does not require meeting notices, documents or agendas be
posted on the website, he added.
Two of the public notice posting locations are on Lac La Belle Drive
and the other is on Pennsylvania Avenue near the intersection with
Lac La Belle Drive.
“How can residents be expected to know what is going in the village
if the only place where notices are posted is on Lac La Belle Drive
where they have to drive their cars to see the notices,” complained
“This is the 21st century. That information should be on the
village’s website,” she continued.
Public participation law
It also appears the village failed to comply with a state law that
emphasizes public participation in the drafting and amending of
“Smart Growth,” the comprehensive long-range plans for
The Plan Commission is expected to adapt amendments to the village’s
plan to qualify for additional sewer service from Oconomowoc to
accommodate the Prestwick corporate headquarters proposed in a
development agreement between the company and the village.
The law requires a written public participation plan,a public
hearing, a notice posted 30 days in advance of the public hearing,
and advance distribution of the plans to members of the public and
nearby municipalities, according to Ben McKay, Chief of Community
Assistance for the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Plan Commission (SEWRPC).
However, village officials acknowledge they do not have a written
public participation plan and did not conduct a public hearing and
have not distributed the proposed amendments to surrounding
However, de la Mora says the village has complied with “the spirit”
of the law.
He said a 30-day notice was posted prior to the Dec. 5 Plan
Commission meeting were citizens and village officials were able to
discuss the proposed amendments.
He said the discussion during the meeting was less formal and more
interactive and productive than testimony at a public hearing would
In addition, the commission delayed by a week a decision on the
amendments to give citizens time to submit written comments.
The amended plan will be distributed to surrounding communities
after it is approved, according to de la Mora.
“I don’t agree with Mr. de la Mora that the village followed the
spirit of the law,” rebutted Pease.
She said she and her neighbors were not aware of the proposed
amendments until they saw the public notice of last week’s plan
She said many village residents had expected improvements would be
made on the golf course, but they were surprised to learn the
village has agreed to sell Prestwick land for a corporate
headquarters adjacent to the golf course.
“There is some pressure and tension between some village residents
and the village trustees that I think could be relieved with better
communications,” Findley told The Freeman.
<<EARLIER: Lac La Belle to amend Smart Growth for Prestwick