Friends of the Black River Forest

Mission Statement:
"To oppose the construction of a golf course within the Black River Forest and to promote the preservation of the integrity of that river, its wetlands, the forest and the adjoining Lake Michigan shore as an ecological whole."

 

Kohler Co. has erroneously stated that "Among the most vocal opponents of the project are some of those residents who apparently prefer that the land be maintained for their private use." They misconstrued statements that were made about the Black River Trails on STATE LAND that Kohler wanted to use for an entrance to their land-locked property. No one from Friends of the Black River Forest is concerned with personal access to the land. We are concerned with how a 'world class' golf course will affect surrounding properties. We are concerned about pesticide drift, pollution to well-water, Lake Michigan and the Black River; the destruction of "globally unique" dunes and "rarest, most irreplaceable" wetlands. We are concerned that the design appears to be driven by an intent to host professional golf tournaments and what impact that would have on the quiet Town of Wilson and Black River area. We are concerned about high-capacity wells. We are concerned about public rights to the Lake Michigan shoreline and Wisconsin's Public Trust Doctrine. We are concerned with the incomplete data being used for the DNR's draft EIS. And we do not agree that state land should be given to a private, for-profit enterprise.

 

Town of Wilson Zoning Ordinance - A proposed conditional use shall be denied unless the applicant can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Town, that the proposed conditional use will not create inappropriate or undesirable impacts on near by properties, the environment, or the community as a whole, as determined by the Plan Commission. Link

 

This is the reason the Conditional Use Permit should be denied

The proposed Golf Course will be a graphically major change to the nature of the land which is contrary to the Town of Wilson's Comprehensive Plan and doesn't meet the requirements for P-1 zoning.  The only reason to allow a golf course in that area as a "conditional use" would be if it enhanced the Comprehensive Plan objective for P-1, which it does not… just the opposite and to the extreme. The Kohler Co. was mistaken in their letter to the Sheboygan Press in which they stated that the "land is now zoned for a golf course as a proper use." It is zoned recreational use and requires a conditional use permit from the Town of Wilson.

We encourage Town of Wilson residents to take the time to look carefully at the following issues:

 

Board's Adherence to Town of Wilson’s 20 Year Comprehensive Plan

Town of Wilson has Responsibility to Residents to protect the integrity of the Black River area. State law requires an update to the plan in 2016.

 

Need for an Environmental Impact Study

Clearing swaths of forest to create fairways will be a major physical change in the flora/fauna ecologic functionality between the ridges of “wetlands” and “uplands.”  It would be prudent for the Plan Commission with support of the P&F Commission to retain (at Kohler’s cost) a qualified firm to perform an “environmental impact” study that includes mapping of the plant communities and characterizations of all aspects of the area’s natural ecology.

 

Implement Water Quality Testing and Water Well Survey

In 1994 , Miller Engineers performed a “watershed” evaluation report for the Black River under a grant obtained by the Town Park & Forestry Commission.   The recommendations for ongoing water quality monitoring has not been followed by the Town of Wilson.  The Black River is now listed as an “impaired waterway."   Board members have also voted against the water well survey (bedrock aquifer characterization) that is also recommended in the Comprehensive Plan.

 

Implement Pilot Well and Pumping Test

The proposed Golf Course irrigation well will have the same effect of a 226 home subdivision.  Nearby wells will experience a draw down.  A more precise study needs to be done (at Kohler’s cost) for pilot well and pumping test.

 

Understand the Actions of the Town Board Are NOT Restricted to the Actions of the DNR

The Town's power is derived from having to provide for the public health, welfare and safety of the people as written in the General Welfare Clause of the Wisconsin State Statutes. Local governments (via their Plan Commissions even though that is “advisory” to the Board) have by statute and case law quite a bit of latitude in regulating what happens to land.

 

Realize Landowners Cannot Fundamentally Change the Nature of the Land

We as land owners do not have an inherent right to fundamentally change the nature of the land which the golf course plan that has been presented appears to do.

 

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