Board votes down Cecelia's expansion

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Thursday, February 21, 2008
— The Bradford Town Board on Wednesday voted down three applications to add nine holes and 52 homes to Cecelia’s Golf Course in Emerald Grove.

At a regular meeting Wednesday night, board members cited a lack of support from town residents and legal confusion behind the project as reasons to vote it down.

“There’s too much stuff up in the air, and the public doesn’t go along with it,” said Supervisor Ben Wellnitz. “There are too many what ifs.”

Golf course owner Mike Kerig and two other parties applied for permits to add nine holes to the nine-hole course off Highway 14. The plan includes building 52 homes on lots smaller than one acre in a “golf community.”

At a public hearing in January, many residents spoke against the project, saying it would gobble up farmland and change the rural nature of Bradford Township.

Others spoke in favor, saying landowners have the right to sell land as they please.

The applications and the votes:

-- Wellnitz Farm Trust, with M&I Trust Co. as trustee, applied to rezone 40 acres from prime agriculture to rural residential.

The application failed on a 3-1 vote. Supervisor Bob Broege favored the application.

“The expansion of the golf course as a golf course I don’t believe has been a big issue,” said Chairman Fred Bobolz. “It’s mainly the housing density and number of houses.”

-- Tracy and Sons Farms made the same application on 33 acres.

The application failed on a 3-1 vote.

-- Wellnitz Farm Trust, with M&I Trust Co. as trustee, applied for a conditional-use permit on 80 acres to allow golfing in an agricultural zone.

The application failed on a 2-2 vote.

Kerig has approached the Wellnitz family and M&I Trust Co. to buy the property for expansion. The trust only allows the sale of 80 acres for expansion of the course and forbids residential development.

In order to change the trust, M&I Trust Co. must petition Rock County Court. The trust company has a legal obligation to ensure the trust is followed to the letter and in the best interest of the beneficiaries, John Richardson, vice president and personal trust administrator, has told The Janesville Gazette.

Kerig told the board that he, the trust company and the Wellnitz family made a verbal agreement to move forward with the land sale. Family member Patrick Wellnitz told The Gazette he agreed with Kerig.

But siblings Bruce Wellnitz and Pamela Weber said they have not seen a written contract and do not support the project.

Last updated: 4:05 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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