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Golf course expansion back on town agenda

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ANN MARIE AMES
January 28, 2008
— An attorney believes Bob Wellnitz wrote his will to prevent residential development on the family farm.

The sale of 120 acres to expand Cecelia’s Golf Course couldn’t happen without a court order altering the Wellnitz Farm Trust, attorney David Moore said.


The Bradford Town Board still could grant applications to turn that farmland into nine holes or 52 residential properties at Cecelia’s Golf Course on Emerald Grove Road off Highway 14.


But the rezoning and permits would be under the condition that the trust is altered and the sale closed.


The Town of Bradford Plan Commission will take up the issue for a second time at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18.


Two parties have applied for rezones and permits to expand the golf course and build 52 high-end homes around it.


But part of the property to be developed is owned by the Wellnitz Family Trust, which was created by the late Bob Wellnitz. Family members have said they are not interested in selling to Cecelia’s owner Mike Kerig.


Moore said he has read Wellnitz’ will since the Jan. 14 plan commission meeting where many in the audience spoke against the expansion. The commission tabled the issue that night to allow Moore time to review the will.


“The will contains a provision that the trustee is not to sell the parcel for any reason other than a farming or a recreational use,” Moore said.


The will also bans the trustee from selling more than 80 acres of the farm for expansion of the golf course. Plans call for the sale of 120 acres.


The following applications have been filed with the town for the project:


-- 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 on 80 acres to allow golfing in an agricultural zone.


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


As it stands, the sale could not take place without altering the trust, Moore said. He said M&I Bank could apply to change the trust in probate court.


The plan commission could vote to recommend approval of the rezone and permits, but the town board will have the final say. The board could take action on the issue at its regular meeting Feb. 20.


Rock County has authority over subdividing property, if the project gets that far.



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