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A Potential Lake Park Still Scares Some Residents

Still stinging from two heated battles over lake property being used for public park land, residents express opposition to changes in plans that don't go far enough.

It's been a little quiet at Common Council meetings lately, but a proposal to remove some references to a lake park from the city's comprehensive plans was enough to bring both sides out Tuesday to argue whether the changes go far enough.

Earlier, the references to the properties involved in a public lake park development along Janesville Road, which fell through in April after heated debate and a change of heart by the property owners, were removed in the parks plan. It was now turn to make similar changes to the city's 2020 Comprehensive Plan.

However, some residents opposed to the city's potential purchase of land on the lake for a public park felt all references to lake park developments should be removed from the plan.

City Planner Jeff Muenkel explained in a memo to council: "Removing the exact locations desired for a lake park from the 2020 map and text is fair since we don’t know exactly where such a lake park could be defined in the future."

The changes would take the specific properties indicated on a map, which were at the heart of the earlier debate, out of consideration for future development. However, residents still felt that including any reference to lake park development left those properties and others open for the same type of purchase by the city.

"The text in the 2020 Plan and Map could still note that the city will consider a future lake park access should the current governing body decide to and should an opportunity come the Council’s way," Muenkel advised in the memo. "Doing so does not solidify any requirement of the city to establish a lake park access but at least preserves the intent of the 2020 Comprehensive Plan when it was adopted. Further it shows that the City of Muskego believes that the lake is an asset to the present/future of the community and that the city desires to still consider anything that may benefit the future prosperity of the city."

Muenkel was taken to task by various lake residents for leaving the door open for another round of debate on the purchase of a lake park.

"Did you ever kill a centipede and the legs kept moving? Well, that is what this feels like," commented Heidi Lindhorst, a resident who also owns property next to the parcels that were a part of the potential sale to the city.

However, other familiar voices felt striking the specific properties was enough, and eliminating any park possibilty for the lake was wrong.

"Let's be honest — this is about 'not on my lake, at any cost' from a small minority of residents," said Rob Lucas, who has been a spokesperson for Muskego Proud. The group was vocally in favor of a public park during this year's debates.

"Let's use common sense here — a minority of residents live on this lake; a majority of residents have very limited access to the lake. Let's not hamstring this council by striking all the language. A lot of very intelligent people put forth a lot of intelligent hours into that plan, and it wasn't for nothing," Lucas said.

The input will go to the Plan Commission on July 9 to review and make any further recommendations, then return to the Common Council again. The process frustrated Alderman Neil Borgman, who grilled Muenkel as to why they even needed to hold the public hearing at the council meeting

Muenkel said city code required the hearing be held there first.

Muskego Held Hostage June 28, 2012 at 02:01 PM
MEG member, Debra Bolton, attacked the rezoning of DJ’s, Muskego bar/restaurant, at last night's Council Meeting. In her estimation Muskego needed “fewer restaurants and especially bars.” She stated she would not miss what she called the drinking and noise that is prevalent at our bars and restaurants. In her estimation bars and alcohol were a detriment to Muskego and she would not miss any of them. She spoke against the re-zoning for this popular Muskego business. She suggested that the owner, who was present and had asked for these proceedings, come back to the council with plans before any city action woul be taken. The citizens present were astounded during this harangue since quite a few people present were customers of the business. Most were sympathetic since businesses on Janesville Rd. have disappeared, not return due to the road widening. For this reason a fair decision to continue this well-known neighborhood meeting and eating place is much more important. Ms. Bolton should rethink her tirade and apologize to the elderly owner for trying to prevent his fine business from continuing. I hipe she was not speaking for the MEG group as I am sure some are customers also. Who is next for the self-appointed Carrie Nation prohibitionist and her group. Who else will fall under her “not on my lake ax? High Tide? Mathers Lanes? To be continued………………
Matt Johnson June 28, 2012 at 02:05 PM
What is so scary about an open green space on the lake? It would be good for the lake and the city as a whole. Having a park off Janesville in our downtown area is better than having one off Lannon Drive. Lets face it. The opposition to this park is not truly based on economic factors; some people are just plain scared. Go back and look at the opposition to the first lake park idea in 2010. You will see and hear what is the real truth behind those who oppose the lake park.
Muskego Held Hostage June 28, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Just in case the point from above was missed, the blocking of a displaced business owner's zoning is just some people's way of trying to show their power and disenfranchising the rest of Muskego from EVER having a chance to see and enjoy their most beauiful asset. Those "POWERS" cannot see into the future and don't understand the old adage; Never say never. We are lucky to now have a fair-minded efficient mayor but in the future who knows if we might have a mayor who wants a view of the lake and doesn't care who is in the way. Stranger things have happened.
Denise Konkol (Editor) June 28, 2012 at 03:02 PM
We will be running a story on DJ's separately, but I think it's unfair to make generalizations about any business. Just before Tuesday night's meeting, I had stopped at Danny Haskell's, which is organizing a fundraiser for a woman with cancer, to speak to the woman they are helping (her story is coming today). Pubs around our city have often been the first to have such events and that's really what makes a great community.
DB June 28, 2012 at 03:16 PM
MHH - Please do not try to put words in someones mouth, especially when they are lies. Debra Bolton never stated anything like 'In her estimation Muskego needed “fewer restaurants and especially bars.” ', nor did she make any call for prohibition as you suggest. What was said was that she would not lament the loss of one bar in Muskego. Further, there were no accusations that bars, either DJ's or general were causing any disturbance outside of what would be normal for a bar. But bars, in general, operate during hours that are outside the typical 9-5 business hours, require lighting to keep their parking lots safe, and regularly generate more noise than a residential area-even without unruly patrons. That is a nuisance. Beyond that, they do occasionally have unruly patrons. If rebuilt, DJs will be moving closer to residences. Let's be fair, where was the public outcry for the residents losing their rental properties to the road, as brought up by Ms. Link? Treat all parties equally, not break rules just because they are your favorite. Is there another legal and zone conforming option since that property is quite large? Perhaps a piece could be carved off near the road that would be fitting to rezone, while maintaining the residential aspect near the homes in the back. It would set up a defined limit for the business and ease fears of it creeping northward. If the residential lots that lost homes are deep enough, perhaps the same could be done.
Muskego Mike June 28, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Plenty of other places very near DJ's for their loyal customers to spend an evening.
Matt Johnson June 28, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I don't think MHH is putting words in anyone's mouth. Ms. Bolton pretty much said she was against establishments like DJ's.
The Anti-Alinsky June 29, 2012 at 03:06 AM
What happened to all the Rhetoric about "A lake park would be nice, but not here"? That was the argument MEG and others were saying about Mr. Dillwith's proposal. Come on Muskego, are we going to let 40 people who have a direct interest tell us we have no right to a public lake?
Muskego Held Hostage June 29, 2012 at 03:11 AM
I think DB made all my points over again. (and quite a few I may have missed)
The Anti-Alinsky June 29, 2012 at 03:12 AM
And I agree with Rob Lucas, this is a "not on MY lake crowd"!
Noe Whay June 29, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I'm not sure who i agree with more, you or Rob Lucas. Well put.
diane June 29, 2012 at 07:05 PM
4300 signatures opposing the Lake park is not a minority nor only lakefront owners. How can you possibly dismiss 4300 people?
proud of muskego June 30, 2012 at 05:08 AM
4,300 people said NO. 4,300 people do not live on the lake. ENOUGH! We just went thru a very expensive recall election because many were complaining that things were not fair and now we have our own version of "recalls". Stop. What is the hidden agenda behind this park, why does it keep resurfacing in creative little ways???? What is really the motives of these groups. We have a new chance for Idle Isle and a new ice cream stand that is creating a great deal of publicity. Fix up that park, visit that park, use that park, and in several years when that park is so heavily attended, and proven that we need another park on the lake then let's discuss. Idle Isle is vacant the majority of the time, people don't want to use the park on the lake and the voters have said NO to another park on the lake. NO means NO!
Muskego Held Hostage June 30, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Diane and Proud', please get the numbers right.........it was 3600 people not 4300 people who signed the petition and a lot of those that signed didn't have a clue as to what was involved. Now that summer's here, the road's being built, Jammin' has shown success and our community is building and expanding, I bet quite a few would change their mind about signing (and what they signed.) Give our city a break!! Since when can an ice cream stand compare with what was planned. I agree dead is dead. Beaten to death by just a few people. Shame, Shame.
The Anti-Alinsky June 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM
MHH I agree. It is a shame that politics in Muskego has gotten to a point where MEG/"Not On My Lake"/"Let's stay in the 1990's" crowd throws fear into the city by spreading lies. Maybe we need to start a direct legislation petition to put the goal of having a lake park on the Common Council's agenda. In fact I wonder how many of those 3600 would sign that petition.

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