LAC LA BELLE — Village
officials are admitting they are contractually obligated to allow
the Prestwick Group to build its corporate headquarters in the
village if the company agrees to buy the village land where the
building will be built.
The revelation came during a Plan Commission meeting Wednesday night
when Administrator George Stumpf told commissioners they had to
adopt an amendment to the village’s Smart Growth plan in order to
comply with a development agreement between the village and the
The development agreement was approved by the Village Board May 2,
following a 90-minute closed session where the trustees were briefed
on six months of private negotiations between company
representatives and village officials.
Village residents have told The Freeman they were unaware of the
discussions between the village and Prestwick regarding the
corporate headquarters development on 27 acres of village-owned land
adjacent to the Lac La Belle golf course.
On Dec. 19, the Village Board is expected to approve the last-minute
amendment to the long-range comprehensive plan — Smart Growth —
drafted by Village Attorney Hector de la Mora during the three-hour
commission meeting Wednesday night.
Following that meeting, a reporter asked Village President Timothy
Clark if the proposed Prestwick headquarters was a “done deal.”
“If they choose to go ahead with it, then yes,” Clark responded.
“It cannot be stopped,” de la Mora later added.
However, he said, the village has the regulatory authority to
determine the size, design and architecture of the building.
Stumpf added another caveat: Prestwick must abide by new zoning
ordinances that have yet to be written by the village.
Stumpf and de la Mora conceded village officials have been
“inconsistent” with village residents regarding changes in Smart
The amendments will enable the village to provide sewer service to
the corporate headquarters, golf course cottages, and residential
properties, to be developed adjacent to the golf course, according
to village officials.
Approximately 17 village residents have objected to changes in the
plan during two Plan Commission meetings in the past week, each
lasting about three hours.
Throughout the meetings, village officials have told the residents
that Smart Growth is a general mission statement that provides a
view “from 40,000 feet” of zoning and development policies and is
not intended to address specific issues.
Yet, the amendment unanimously adopted by the commission Wednesday
night relates to a specific issue and company: the development of a
corporate headquarters for Prestwick.
Village resident Kelly Spaulding pointed out to the commission that
the most recent version of the Smart Growth plan prohibited
commercial development in the village.
“With the exception of golf course operations, the village will
discourage commercial development in all areas within the village
limits,” according to page 52 of the plan.
“Doesn’t that mean there can’t be a commerce center?” asked
Spaulding, who opposes the headquarters.
“She raises a good point,” responded Stumpf.
Stumpf said the golf course and the corporate headquarters are
separate entities on separate parcel of lands.
Prestwick manufacturers both golf course and outdoor equipment and
furnishings and is presently headquartered in Sussex.
Stumpf urged the commission to amend the plan to allow the
However, some of the residents shouted “no” and indicated they
wanted the language prohibiting commercial development left in the
Stumpf explained if the language was left in the plan, the corporate
headquarters could not be developed.
He said the village was obligated by the development agreement to
permit the headquarters if Prestwick agreed to purchase the land and
abides by other conditions of the agreement.
“This is bull s**t,” Claire Tompkins said after the meeting.
She is one of three Town of Oconomowoc residents who have opposed
However, village resident Joe Renner said if the headquarters “is
done properly, the benefits may outweigh the disadvantages.”
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