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Bradford tables golf course expansion

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ANN MARIE AMES
January 15, 2008
— Golf is rarely a hot topic in the middle of a Wisconsin winter.

It was in Bradford Township Monday night.


The town of Bradford Planning and Zoning Committee tabled action on a proposed expansion of Cecelia’s Golf Course, on Emerald Grove Road off Highway 14, in a meeting that took place right after a heated public hearing.


The committee moved to wait until it could be determined who controlled one of the properties involved.


The applications:


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


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


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


Bruce Wellnitz said talking about the project is a moot point because his family is not interested in selling to Mike Kerig, owner of the golf course.


“They gave a ridiculous price,” Wellnitz said. “You’ve wasted a lot of good people’s time in this room because, Mike, we’re not going to sell you this land.”


Wellnitz said M&I Trust owns the property but needs the family’s permission to make decisions.


Town attorney David Moore said he will determine who is in charge of the trust.


Kerig plans to build 52 homes on one-acre lots around the course.


Kerig expects unimproved lots to start at $60,000 and the homes to average $300,000.


That would bring in an additional $70,000 in taxes to the town of Bradford, Kerig said. The town’s budget last year was $255,000.


The proposed expansion would turn Cecelia’s into an 18-hole course with upgrades to the older holes and added water retention areas.


Most of the residents at Monday night’s packed hearing spoke against the development, citing concerns about increased traffic, loss of farmland and the size of the development.


Sharon Hargarten, former town board and planning and zoning committee member, said she was part of a board whose philosophy was, “If you can row crop it, don’t develop it.”


“We have plenty of places for development,” Hargarten said.


Town resident Larry Lader said Kerig should be able to buy land and develop it as he chooses.


“At some point, someone in your family is going to want to sell this land,” Lader said hypothetically to the farmers in the crowd. “I think you’d want them to be able to sell it to whomever they wish.”


Margaret Waite said as a town resident she’s not completely against the development but thinks things are moving too quickly.


“I’m feeling rushed,” Waite said. “This is an interesting idea. It could be an advantage or a disadvantage, but I’m scared of 52 houses.”



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