Having a hard time keeping informed about Four Seasons issues? You are not alone. The following time line was sent to us and should help (sorry if you’ve gotten it already from other sources).
Note from KIDL Postmistress: Trying to stay informed myself, I attended the Judge Sause hearing in late June on the maps. The Bay Times and other papers carried Konrad’s article on his hearing so you may have read that – Konrad does a good job of writing his articles - BUT I was extremely surprised that a lot of what was said at that hearing was not included.
A couple statements Judge Sause made in the proceedings (and there were many more):
Judge Sause addressing Mr. Zink (KHOV attorney): … Knowing they had bad maps, the county had the effrontery to go ahead. They created other approvals when they knew. As a citizen, that incenses me. You and your client were part of it and you went ahead.
Four Seasons Time Line and Update
On November 8, without obligation to do so County Commissioners Smith, Cassell and Cupani vote to award sewer and water allocation to 400 units of the Four Seasons project. The developer had only requested allocation 162 units. This allows the project to be considered for final subdivision and site plan approvals. Koval and Ransom were opposed.
On November 29, in closed session, Smith, Cassell and Cupani remove Commissioner Ransom from the Planning Commission just before Four Seasons comes before the Planning Commission for a final vote. Commissioner Richard Smith is named as Ransom's replacement.
At the December 8th , Planning Commission meeting (Commissioner Smith's first meeting) Smith breaks the long-standing practice of not voting on items that come before BOTH the Board of County Commissioners and the Planning Commission (he had voted Nov. 8 on the sewer allocation, which set the project up for these approvals). He votes with the Planning Commission (only Mr. Frohn was opposed) to approve the Final Site Plan for 56 condominiums in 4 buildings to be built at Four Seasons, as well as voting for Final Subdivision Approval for 106 single family homes in Phase 1 of Four Seasons. These approvals were given in spite of objections by certain members of the public who pointed out current litigation that should put a hold on these procedures, discrepancies in the maps, improper procedures and other errors in the approval process. Mr. Drummond, Attorney for the Planning Commission, countered the objections with various arguments. White he acknowledged errors in the maps he said the errors did not affect the Growth Allocation (the mechanism necessary for the project to go forward in the Critical Area).
Judge Sause issues an injunction against Four Seasons stopping all work. Shortly after the injunction is issued Commissioner Ransom turns in several County employees who violate the injunction. Judge Sause sends the County Sheriff to the Planning department to serve his injunction to department personnel.
The Judge’s Order clearly outlines major flaws with the Four Seasons portion of the County’s Official Critical Area Maps, but clearly does not require the County to take any action. The erroneous Critical Area maps approved by the previous county commissioners, Judge Sause wrote in his opinion, "reveal nothing short of inattention to and misapplication of law, a wink at the requirements of the local critical area plan and demonstrated unwillingness or inability to employ the technical skills necessary to provide proper maps."
Commissioner Ransom repetitively requests appointment of independent outside counsel who could advise Commissioners correctly that they have no legal obligation to push forward with Four Seasons project. His requests fall on deaf ears. Commissioner Koval said he felt the injunction meant K. Hovnanian should have to start the Growth Allocation process all over. The Majority of the Commissioners (Smith, Cassell, Cupani) hire a special planning consultant to help review the maps. URS is hired. Commissioners Koval and Ransom vote against the URS hiring.
It is discovered that URS has done work ON the Four Seasons project for a law firm representing Four Seasons. That’s right, Cassell, Smith and Cupani hired a Four Seasons expert to fix the maps.
Over the strong objection of Commissioners Ransom and Koval the Smith-Cassell-Cupani cabal signed the maps, helping move the project forward. However, Commissioner Cupani ordered the camera turned off during the session. Ransom objected to the signing saying it was not required, he also said we should wait for the County lawyers to attend. None of the County lawyers were present during the signing. Koval & Ransom objected to the signing, pointing out obvious flaws with the maps.
Judge Sause questions if the County complied with the Open Meetings Act and his order when signing the maps. The County is unable to provide a proper transcript or tape (Cupani had ordered the cameras off). Cupani, without telling any of the other Commissioners, hires an expert from Milwaukee to fix the tapes.
When the source of funds to hire the expert is discussed Smith and Cassell vote to pay the bill. Cupani votes no and says he wants to display "leadership" on the Four Seasons matter by paying the bill personally out of his own pocket.
We wait for a ruling on the matter. In the mean time the injunction stands, and the citizens must continue to fight the system.
Commissioners Koval and Ransom have voted NO at every opportunity to stop the project; the other three have done everything possible to speed the matter along, all the while trying to avoid and conceal the truth: that the County has no legal obligation to try to get Judge Sause’s injunction lifted.
July 16, 2006
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