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.