LAC LA BELLE — The village’s
longstanding policy of prohibiting commercial development, except
for a local golf course, is likely to be reversed this week by the
Village trustees are expected to amend the comprehensive long-range
plan, called Smart Growth, to allow the development of a corporate
headquarters adjacent to the golf course for the Prestwick Group.
The Prestwick Group generates an estimated $200 million annually
manufacturing outdoor furnishings and golf course equipment for
resorts and golf courses around the world and is headquartered in
The amendments were recommended by the Plan Commission despite
objections raised by about 17 village residents attending commission
meetings on Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 Some say they are opposed to the
corporate headquarters. Others have objected to what they say is a
lack of transparency by village officials about a development
agreement between the village and Prestwick and amendments to Smart
Dec. 12 vote
Village officials initially said the amendments were not intended to
address specific zoning and land use issues and were being made to
gain approval from the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Plan
Commission (SEWRPC) for expansion of sewer services to the proposed
However, a Plan Commission vote on Dec. 12 changed the village’s
policy toward commercial development.
Language prohibiting commercial development was deleted and language
was added allowing construction of the corporate headquarters
adjacent to the golf course along with cottages for overnight golf
accommodations and nearby residential lots for development.
Some of the residents at the meeting shouted “no” and indicated they
wanted the language prohibiting commercial development left in the
However, Village Administrator George Stumpf explained the corporate
headquarters could not be built without the amendments.
He said the village was obligated by the development agreement to
allow Prestwick to build the headquarters if they abided by
conditions in the agreement including purchasing village land on
which the headquarters would be built.
Village officials have argued the rebuilt golf course along with the
corporate headquarters will provide the village with a significant
increase in its tax base.
In addition, according to village officials, Prestwick has agreed to
install stormwater ponds that will help reduce stormwater runoff
into Lake Lac La Belle.
However, village residents Virginia “Ginny” Pease, Kelly Spaulding
and Mike Findley have complained the village failed to provide
details about the proposed amendments.
Some residents have told The Freeman they were aware of — and did
not object to — Prestwick purchasing and rebuilding the golf course.
However, they said they were not aware of the corporate headquarters
until the village approved the development agreement in May.
After nearly six months of private negotiations with Prestwick, the
Village Board approved the development agreement following a
90minute closed session.
Law regarding amendments to long-range growth plan
It appears the village failed to abide by state law amending Smart
According to SEWRPC, municipal officials must provide a written plan
for public participation, hold public hearings, post notices of the
public hearings 30 days in advance, and distribute the proposed
changes to the public and neighboring municipalities.
Village officials concede they have not distributed the amendments
to neighboring communities, held a public hearing, or prepared a
written public participation plan.
However, Village Attorney Hector de la Mora argues the village has
followed “the spirit of the law” by holding two Plan Commission
meetings, distributing the plan to residents, and allowing residents
to submit verbal and written comments on the amendments before they
were adopted by the commission and recommended to the Village Board.
<<EARLIER: Prestwick headquarters a ‘done deal’