Thursday, December 10, 2020

Lakeside golf course plan has local permit hearing 12/15

Here are a couple of updates on the proposed construction a golf course complex in a pristine, privately-owned and heavily-forested 247-acre nature preserve which adjoins popular Kohler-Andrae State Park. 

By comparison, that is about 70% larger than the 138-acre Lake Park in Milwaukee County, three times the size of Dane County's 81-acre Cherokee Marsh Wildlife Area and also three times the size of the 76-acre Houghton Falls Nature Preserve in Ashland County.

The golf course proposal includes construction on several acres within the park through a land swap with the DNR which its DNR's oversight board has already approved - a move currently being litigated.

And thanks to Urban Milwaukee for reposting this item from my blog about the issues:

State DNR Still Wrong on Lakeshore Golf Course

The golf course project presents many environmental, procedural and legal issues. Here is one helpful example that includes photographs provided by the park’s former long-time superintendent of some of the actual acreage inside the park – land that is integral to its design and function – which the golf course developer says it needs for a road, parking lot and maintenance building that it can’t find room for on the nature preserve site it wants to substantially clear-cut.

Public land which the DNR and its governing board are OK with transferring through a swap with the developer. 

1. Friends of The Black River Forest, (FBRF) - the grassroots group opposing the project that will take acreage within the adjacent State Park - is urging attendance at - or comment submission to - a City of Sheboygan Plan Commission hearing on the developer's request for what is called a conditional use permit.

The hearing - here is the public notice - will be held Tuesday, December 15, at 3:30 p.m. in Sheboygan City Hall.

This link explains how to participate in-person or online, and note the hearing's registration and written comment submission rules:

Residents are encouraged to attend remotely. Public comment will be limited to three (3) minutes.
The Plan Commission will review written comments prior to the meeting. Please submit written comments to by Monday, December 14, 2020 at 12:00 pm to provide time for the comments to be shared with the City Plan Commission members.
All those who wish to comment at the meeting, whether remotely or in-person should pre-register by filling out the form below.  
If you are unable to access the form, please contact Sarah Schwefel, the mayor’s assistant at 920-459-3317 during regular business hours (8:00 am - 4:30 pm). Pre-registration is designed to ensure that we deploy the appropriate technological resources and to ensure that we are able to provide for social distancing measures in light of the pandemic emergency.  

 2.  Something that hasn't gotten much attention is the impact of recent storms and Lake Michigan's rising water levels to the project's proposed lakeside-hugging design.

FBRF deals with that issue and others in a recent update, here:

These are our concerns with a rushed [Conditional Use Permit] CUP PROJECT

We caution the Plan Commission:

  • To expect the applicant to provide substantial evidence which can be verified. This includes a new golf course layout design, since the land for 4 holes in the original plan has been eroded by Lake Michigan. This includes reviewing permits when Kohler is granted them.

  • Kohler does not have any permits needed to build its course or use Kohler-Andrae State Park land. FBRF won the contested hearing revoking Kohler’s Wetland Fill Permit.

  • Kohler has NO wetland fill permit. The Administrative Law Judge’s decision was supported by the incompleteness of impact information, particularly on groundwater impacts. Kohler appealed.

  • Kohler has NO Stormwater permit

    Here is a 2014 photograph looking north past the site. Storms and high water levels in Lake Michigan have subsequently eroded portions of the shoreline and apparently forcing the redesign of several of the course's holes.

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