Homeowner Can't Access His Garage Without Deal or Rebuild
The lot line between private property and park land means a Muskego homeowner will either need to enter a written agreement with city to access his garage, or possibly tear it down to reconfigure his driveway.
It's a problem Jim Mortle says he inherited, but he may be required to work with the city so he can use park land in order to put his car in his garage.
Another chapter in a dispute that had the Parks and Recreation board looking into just where property lines existed between a lake access parcel and Mortle's private lakeside property ended with little resolution Monday night. A proposal from Mortle requesting a permanent easement was denied by the board. He told the board he had hoped the proposal would end the debate so driving on the asphalt roadway, which is technically park land, wouldn't put him in violation of park rules.
The roadway that is Park Drive continues to the lake and becomes park land at Lake Drive. It is also parallel to Mortle's driveway, and as the lot lines are designated, it allows him only about 15 feet from his garage door before he's on park property. In other words, he has to drive on park land to access his garage.
The Park Board balked at the idea of a permanent easement, saying that it could restrict the city's use of its own land.
"I'm not comfortable with an easement," said board member Jerald Hulbert. "I don't want to give away park land; I would prefer we enter into a written agreement instead. It would still allow Mr. Mortle the access to his property, and as long as he isn't in violation of the agreement, he wouldn't have anything to worry about."
However, Mortle felt that he was at the mercy of the city entering into such an agreement, and that because the property was already grandfathered, he didn't need it. The board's suggestion was to have the city attorney investigate whether Mortle's property really was under such a grandfather clause, and if not, he may have to consider "turning" his garage to face Lake Drive, as his neighbors do.
The issue between Mortle and the city first arose in October, when neighbors complained that he was encroaching on the public lake access parcel, and were upset at Mortle's initial offer to purchase a portion of the land. Since then, the city has researched where the lot lines should be, and has considered putting in a yellow stripe on the asphalted portion to delineate the two parcels, as well as reconstructing fencing to make the lot lines clearer.
The board hopes to have more information from the city attorney when it meets again on Feb. 11.