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Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 28 June 2017 16:16

Agreement between the Town of Belgium and Pewaukee company released via open records request

The Town of Belgium has secretly agreed to allow a Pewaukee company to sell what the town considers to be one lakefront lot as two parcels to settle a lawsuit filed by the property owner.
After a closed-session meeting following its monthly meeting on June 5, the Town Board approved a settlement with Encore Properties, which sued the town in February over a dispute involving property on Cedar Beach Lane, but it refused to release or comment on the terms of the settlement. Ozaukee Press filed an open records request, and last week the town provided the newspaper with a copy of the agreement.
Terms of the agreement allow Encore’s properties at 5658 and 5652 Cedar Beach Lane to be sold separately.
In addition, Encore agrees to either tear down or repair the uninhabitable structure at 5652 Cedar Beach Lane within 120 days. The structure hasn’t had septic service since 2006 and has a damaged roof, among other deficiencies.
That’s good news to neighbor Robin Shellow and her attorney Kyle Borkenhagen, who filed a lawsuit against Encore because of what they said are adverse affects of the dilapidated building on Shellow’s health and property. The suit claims the property violates an Ozaukee County ordinance that doesn’t allow public nuisances.
The building’s roof has a hole and the building houses a family of foxes, Shellow told the Town Board on June 5.
“I want it (taken) down now,” Shellow said.
After being contacted by Ozaukee Press about the agreement, she referred comment to her attorney.
“We read the settlement agreement and we’re happy that the town requires them to fix the property, but we do want the building down and that’s what we’re working toward in our lawsuit, and we think that all the neighbors on Cedar Beach Road are going to benefit from that,” Borkenhagen said.
Terms of the settlement also call for parties to “not publicize, comment on, or otherwise disclose the terms and underlying facts related to or leading up to this agreement.”
Town Chairman Tom Winker cited that portion of the agreement in declining comment to Ozaukee Press.
In Encore’s lawsuit, which lists the Town of Belgium and its Zoning Board of Appeals as defendants, the company claims its two adjacent substandard lakefront lots on Cedar Beach Lane could be sold separately.
Last July, Town Zoning Administrator Charlie Parks emailed Encore stating a separate sale of the lots would be a zoning violation. Parks stated in the email that the town considers the lots to be “one lot composed to two tax key numbers,” according to the lawsuit.
The lots are in the Wellenstein’s Addition subdivision, which was platted before 1966 and before the town’s zoning ordinance was first adopted, the lawsuit states.
The town doesn’t have an ordinance that states the lots may be combined or treated as one property, the lawsuit states. Combining the lots would change the boundaries of the subdivision, which would require a replat. The town has not replatted the properties, the lawsuit states.
Encore requested a hearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals about the interpretation of the town’s ordinances in regards to not being allowed to sell the lots separately.
Town Clerk Ginger Murphy returned the application because she said it didn’t fall within the authority of the Zoning Board of Appeals. She asked Encore to resubmit its application.
Encore resubmitted its application, and Murphy sent a letter in January turning it down, stating that Encore’s request was not made within the 30 days of written notice by the town zoning administrator as required by town ordinance.
The lawsuit claims Encore was not properly served with the zoning administrator’s determination, and Parks’ decision is illegal and void.
The board’s refusal to hold a hearing was “arbitrary and unreasonable,” and deprived Encore of “due process,” the lawsuit states.

 
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