Partly Cloudy | 0MPH




September 2014


City of Oconomowoc to proceed with eminent domain of parcel for community center parking

City of Oconomowc - In a 4-3 vote Tuesday night, Common Council approved a resolution to proceed with establishing eminent domain of 219. W. Wisconsin Ave. Officials were presented with the option after Mayor Jim Daley said two years of negotiations with the property owner have been unsuccessful.

The owners of the property according to Waukesha County tax records are Ken Herro and John Haas. The resolution for condemnation of the property comes after the city failed to reach an agreement for binding arbitration regarding the parcel by 5 p.m. Tuesday, a deadline that had been extended from the same time the previous day.

The city is seeking the property directly across from the new community center for parking. The issue has been a hot-button topic in the city because the nearest public parking is about a football field away.

According to a timeline presented at the meeting by Director of Economic Development Bob Duffy, since 2010, the city has gone back and forth with the property owners over the value of the land. The city has assessed the land twice with the latest offer for $250,000 based on the assessment.

The property owners have argued that the land's value is upwards of $400,000. They have argued this based on claims that the property could be rezoned from its current residential to mixed-used commercial increasing the value by almost double.

In other parts of the two-year negotiation, the property owners have requested more than $400,000 for the parcel with around $100,000 of it being an "IRS gift" for the property.

They have also suggested the city pay more than $400,000 for the parcel and that they would establish and bed and breakfast elsewhere in the downtown Oconomowoc area adding value to the area and necessitating the increased price beyond the assessed value of the land.

After much discussion, Common Council passed the resolution to proceed with eminent domain. Alderman James Larsen, Cathleen Slattery and Mike Miller voted against the resolution. Slattery and Miller cited reasons of violating a property owner's rights. Slattery said she had concerns based on the unsuccessful outcome of the negotiations that the condemnation would proceed all the way to a jury trial which could mean the city is responsible for all of the losing parties' legal fees which could be about $100,000 each according to John Van Lieshout of Reinhart Attorneys at Law who has been hired to represent the city. The law states that if the jury award is 15 percent more than the asking price the winning party is responsible for all legal fees plus the price of the property.

"There are easy calls to make and there are tough ones and property rights are right up there with the toughest ones," said Daley in conclusion. "Over the last two years of looking for an alternative and not finding one," this is how the city must proceed, he continued.

Watch for more on this story in Thursday's Oconomowoc Focus.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Living Lake Country

E-mail Newsletter

Top stories from the Lake Country area. Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Lakecountry Watch

View All Posts Got a tip? rss
Lake Country Construction Guide


Consruction season is underway in Lake Country and

we've got you covered when it comes to street closures and delays:

Mukwonago area projects

Sussex, Menomonee Falls area projects

Kettle Moraine area projects

Greater Lake Country area projects


Special Report
Community Pride 2014


Celebrate Lake Country 

communities with stories

of community pride








Rummage Router
Just click to find a rummage near you


Your Photos
Sarah Kyle - Hartland, WI , AL
Community Blogs

Lake Country residents share their views on news, happenings and current events.

It's Hemmer Time
By Amy L. Geiger-Hemmer
Obama has no intention of defeating ISIS...period.

Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective
By Bernie Ziebart
Penn State

By Mike Garber
35th Topic - This space for rent

Cook's Corner
By Cynthia Acosta Luksich
Summer in Wisconsin equals chili: Basic chili from leftover taco meat

Eagle's Eye
By Al Neuhauser
Global Humbug IX-Environmental Madness features more than a dozen community bloggers - a group of volunteer conversation leaders who are up on the latest topics and never short on an opinion. Just a few are pictured here. Check out the rest and see what they have to say!

View All Blogs

Discussion Guidelines

Do you want to become a Community Blogger? welcomes your thoughts and opinions. Contact us for more information:
I want to blog

Legal Notices
Back to top