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Local News - Water Problems

Lisbon OKs Halquist quarry expansion; Plan Commission turns back opponents' petition

Halquist Stone Co. won the support of the Lisbon Plan Commission last Thursday for its application to amend the town's land-use plan to allow rezoning of 64 acres of company-owned land southwest of Lisbon Road and Maple Avenue from residential to extractive.

Halquist Stone Co. won the support of the Lisbon Plan Commission last Thursday for its application to amend the town's land-use plan to allow rezoning of 64 acres of company-owned land southwest of Lisbon Road and Maple Avenue from residential to extractive.

The proposal will now go to the Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use for a public hearing and then to the County Board for a vote.

If passed, the plan change will not actually rezone the property, but it would allow the Lisbon Town Board to rezone the parcel when Halquist asks it to do so as part of a plan of operations and conditional-use permit application.

Resource protection argued

Company President Tom Halquist told the plan commissioners that he needed to protect the property's limestone resources until the company was ready to exploit them, about 2043. When it does so, the new quarry operation will actually be an expansion of the company's existing quarry east of the Maple Avenue line. (Maple Avenue ends at Lisbon Road.)

None of that will happen, however, if the 15 homeowners who signed a petition opposing the proposal have their way.

The petitioners, who own homes on Lisbon Road and Maple Avenue north and east of the property, argued that bringing quarry operations closer to their homes threatened their wells.

Potential well problems cited

Richard Osterman, who lives on the south side of Lisbon Road north of the Halquist property, claimed that quarry work would cause water levels to drop, requiring deeper wells - 650 to 800 feet, according to the state Department of Natural Resources, he said - at a cost of $30,000 to $40,000.

Plan Commissioner Joseph Osterman, who spoke as a private citizen and later recused himself from voting on the land-use plan amendment, claimed that wells that deep had their own problems.

"When you get to the second aquifer at 700 to 800 feet, radon becomes an issue," he said.

Company President Tom Halquist said he would be willing to work with neighboring homeowners to help them with their well issues, should they arise.

Quality of life threatened?

The petition document also argues that the planned quarry would bring the Northwest Asphalt plant, and its odors, westward, closer to Maple Avenue.

Because of the quarry's impact on homeowners' wells and the asphalt plant's impact on air quality, "Residential land values and quality of life will plummet," the document claimed.

"We don't own Northwest Asphalt," Halquist noted. "They're our tenants."

Speaking for her mother, Anna Erb (one of the petitioners), Monica Erb Mayer asked, "Do you want this to be a quarry town or a community?"

She claimed quarry expansion would come at the expense of residential expansion.

"One of the beauties of this plan," Halquist Vice President Dave Anderson countered, "is that there are so few houses on this property or near it."

He said the parcel's redesignation would also let people moving into the area know what it would be used for.

Halquist praised

Halquist's proposal also had its supporters.

Steve Rislow, a contractor with Schneider Excavating of Lannon, said his company uses Halquist stone in its projects. He also praised the company for its civic-mindedness, pointing to its annual Dozer Day, which supports the Hamilton Education Fund.

Town Board and Plan Commission Chairman Michael Reed read and paraphrased parts of a letter from Hamilton School District Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, which, he said, "essentially sings the praises of Halquist Stone for expanding educational opportunities for children and establishing the Hamilton Education Fund."

Delay proposed

Joseph Osterman said his criticism of Halquist's proposal should not be construed as criticism of the Halquist family or the company.

"They're fine corporate citizens," he said. "We just want to maintain our quality of life."

If the Plan Commission would not reject the proposal outright, he added, then he wanted the commissioners to postpone Halquist's application for at least a year.

"If they don't need the land for another 35 years," he asked, "then what's the rush?"

Halquist said his company needed to be forward-looking.

"We're trying to make a smart plan for the future," he said.

No one on the Plan Commission took up Osterman's suggestion, but the proposal did hit a temporary (and hourlong) snag, when Chairman Reed tried to link approval of the application to a resolution of the well problems around Maple Avenue north of Lisbon Road.

Halquist lawsuit settled

Homeowners there sued Halquist Stone Co. in 2004, claiming a quarry blast Oct. 9 the previous year had damaged or contaminated their wells. The 28 homeowners amended their lawsuit after another quarry blast Dec. 2, 2004, had a similar effect, they claimed.

The suit was settled in summer 2006. According to the homeowners'' attorney, Ted Warpinski of Friebert, Finerty & St. John of Milwaukee, Halquist Stone Co. agreed to put $1 million into a trust fund to help solve the homeowners' water supply problem.

The settlement called for a "multiple deep well plan" for several 700-foot wells, each of which would serve several houses, Warpinski said in an interview Friday.

Halquist told the Plan Commission he was ready to go forward, but the homeowners were also working with town officials on "what they think might be a better solution" - a municipal water utility for the area.

"We're ready to drill tomorrow," Halquist said. "We're just waiting for these homeowners to decide what's best for them."

Reed's proposal would have made the Plan Commission's approval of Halquist's proposal contingent on an amendment recommending that the Town Board conduct a study, financed by both the town and Halquist, to compare the cost impact of the two alternatives.

Reed pointed out that although only five of the commission's seven members were present (including Osterman, who had recused himself), passage of the amendment would still require an absolute majority of four.

Commissioners Ed Nelson and Neil Sasse said the two issues should not be connected, and Reed's proposal died for lack of a second.

Sasse argued that some of the research had already been conducted by Town Engineer John Stigler.

Halquist did agree, however, to work with the board on financing such a study, if needed, and coming up with as much as $20,000 to help finance it. Reed had estimated the study would cost about $40,000 and that he would ask the Town Board to come up with the rest of the money.


Lisbon ponders water for Maple/K; Halquist $1 million lawsuit settlement could fund project

Halquist Stone Co. and town officials might work together to install municipal water on the town's southeast side.

Halquist Stone Co. and town officials might work together to install municipal water on the town's southeast side.

One town supervisor, however, wants assurances that residents there will not have to pay to hook up to municipal water as long as their private wells are providing safe drinking water.

The Town Board approved an engineering study Monday night to determine whether one of four alternatives is feasible for installation of municipal water along Lisbon Road (Highway K).

Halquist has agreed to share with the town the anticipated $10,000 cost for the feasibility study.

David Anderson, a Halquist vice president, said the company is willing to participate in the project because the town might offer a "global" approach to improving water service in the region.

Halquist has committed $1 million to a trust fund to solve the well problems of about 50 homeowners along Maple Avenue near Lisbon Road as part of an out-of-court settlement with 28 of them. They had sued Halquist, contending that quarry blasting had damaged their wells.

The alternatives the town is considering might provide better water service to the residents, the company and the region, Anderson said.

"This is a partnership," he said. "I have full confidence in those (town) engineers.

"What they are working on is a more global approach, one that can help those 50 neighbors, our company and the entire area," he added.

John Stigler, president of Jahnke & Jahnke Associates Inc., the town's contractual engineering firm, told the board that the firm wanted to consider four alternatives.

One would improve the water quality in the Maple Avenue area with installation of a well, pump house and reservoir in nearby Stoney Halquist Park.

Another, according to Jahnke & Jahnke engineer Brian DuPont, would serve a larger area by installing a well, pump house and reservoir in the Quarry Corners Industrial Park with a water main that would travel along Lisbon Road east to Maple Avenue.

A third alternative would extend the City of Pewaukee water system by installing a water main along Duplainville Road from about a quarter-mile south of Lindsay Road to Lisbon Road and from there to Maple Avenue.

The fourth would extend the Village of Menomonee Falls water system on Lisbon Road west from Town Line Road to Maple Avenue.

The feasibility of that alternative might depend on the conditions negotiated in a new water service contract between the Village of Menomonee Falls and the City of Milwaukee, DuPont said.

The village may resell water from the city to surrounding municipalities. A previous contract had prohibited reselling city water.

Lisbon would purchase the water from either Menomonee Falls or the City of Pewaukee.

"They would own the water main, and the town would be retail customers," explained DuPont.

The engineering study would provide cost estimates for each alternative, and the Town Board would have to decide how the project would be paid for.

Supervisor James Stadler said he wanted assurances that town residents would not be required to connect to the system if their existing private wells provided safe drinking water.

Stadler said some residents along the water main route are seniors living on fixed incomes and cannot afford to connect to municipal water.


Pewaukee considers water service to Lisbon

Town of Lisbon residents whose residential wells were damaged by blasting at the Halquist quarry might find a solution from the City of Pewaukee.

Town of Lisbon residents whose residential wells were damaged by blasting at the Halquist quarry might find a solution from the City of Pewaukee.

The Town of Lisbon is exploring several options to provide water to the Maple Avenue area adjacent to the Halquist quarry. One option is City of Pewaukee water.

The Village of Sussex provided a quote to Lisbon of $45,000 per property for water service to the area. The Village of Pewaukee has decided not to provide service to the area.

The nearest and most feasible access to a City of Pewaukee water main lies 2 1/2 miles south of the Maple Avenue area.

A conceptual proposal presented to the City of Pewaukee Common Council on Monday, Aug. 18, would extend a water main northwest along Duplainville Road, west along Lisbon Road then north to the Maple Avenue area.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $2 million to $2.5 million.

The Town of Lisbon funded an engineering study conducted by Ruekert/Mielke showing the City of Pewaukee utility could handle the water pressure and capacity for the project.

The City of Pewaukee Public Works Commission recently recommended conceptual agreement and sent the proposal to the Common Council, although the public works staff has several concerns about the project that still need to be addressed.

The proposed water main would create a long, dead-end water main, and any break would result in a shut down of the system, said City Public Works Director Jeff Weigel. He recommended an interconnection agreement with the Village of Sussex to provide water via a nearby Sussex main in the event of an emergency. The City of Pewaukee has similar emergency agreements with the Village of Pewaukee and the City of Waukesha.

Another concern is to define water operating costs and set water rates for Lisbon that would cover those costs. Weigel said the state Public Service Commission, which sets water rates, would allow Pewaukee to charge a higher rate to Lisbon water customers.

Pewaukee would also need to respond to Lisbon Diggers’ Hotline calls in the area which would affect Pewaukee’s water utility staff.

“A recent study of the City of Pewaukee Public Works Department shows we are two people short on the water utility,” said Weigel.

Weigel suggested that Pewaukee treat the Town of Lisbon as if it were a developer and enter into a typical developers’ agreement. Under such an agreement, Lisbon would fund a majority of costs of the project and be reimbursed as properties connect within the water main service area. City policy has been to assess properties that hook up within a 10-year period. After that, property owners would not be assessed.

“I don’t want to overstress the DPW and I want the city to be able to recapture those costs,” said City of Pewaukee Alderman Dale Noll.

“Staff should find out from Lisbon whether they want to fund this project,” said City of Pewaukee Attorney Stan Riffle.

The Common Council voted unanimously Monday, Aug. 18, to move forward with considering the conceptual proposal and to address the concerns voiced by staff.


Lisbon might get Pewaukee water; City would provide solution for homes hit by quarry blasts

Homeonwers on Maple Avenue who believe their wells were damaged by explosions at the nearby Halquist quarry on Lisbon Road in 2003 and 2004 might get relief from the City of Pewaukee.

Homeonwers on Maple Avenue who believe their wells were damaged by explosions at the nearby Halquist quarry on Lisbon Road in 2003 and 2004 might get relief from the City of Pewaukee.

The Pewaukee Common Council voted unanimously Aug. 18 to move forward with at least the conceptual proposal.

The Pewaukee solution was one of four the town has been exploring since the settlement of a lawsuit by 28 Maple Avenue area homeowners against Halquist Stone Co. The company agreed to set aside $1 million in a fund dedicated to helping finance a solution to the problem, which affects the neighborhood’s 57 homes.

Lisbon had funded an engineering study by Ruekert/Mielke showing the City of Pewaukee utility could handle the water pressure and capacity for the project.

“We were pleasantly surprised when we heard that,” said Lisbon Town Administrator Jeff Musche in an interview last Friday.

The other three options turned out to be much more costly, Brian Dupont of Lisbon’s town engineering firm, Jahnke and Jahnke, explained to the Lisbon Town Board and about 30 Maple Avenue residents Monday night. The Pewaukee option would cost about $3.25 million, he added.

The new water main would connect with the City of Pewaukee system about 2½ miles south of Lisbon Road, extend northwest along Duplainville Road, turn west on Lisbon Road at Quarry Corners, then turn north on Maple Avenue and end in Sussex at the southern end of the village’s water main, near the National Guard Armory.

The new pipeline would also serve the Quarry Corners business park and make it more attractive for businesses considering moving to the park, according to Musche.

The project would create a long, dead-end water main, and any break would result in a shutdown of the system, Pewaukee Public Works Director Jeff Weigel told the city Common Council. He recommended an interconnection agreement with Sussex to provide water from the village’s Maple Avenue water main in case of an emergency. Pewaukee has similar emergency agreements with the Village of Pewaukee and the City of Waukesha.

Dupont said he hoped the new water main would eventually loop back to the City of Pewaukee, but that in the meantime he hoped the two municipalities would pick up the costs of those portions of the water main running through their communities. That would help lower the cost to the Maple Avenue residents.

The Halquist settlement fund would also provide the owners of each of the 57 Maple Avenue properties at least $5,500 toward payment of the special assessment for the service, or as high as $7,000 each if Sussex and the City of Pewaukee pick up the costs of their ends of the water main.

Halquist’s contributions to the homeowners’ assessments do not add up to the $1 million in the fund. The remainder will be applied toward assessments against Halquist property on Maple Avenue, on the western edge of Quarry Corners and along Lisbon Road between the two locations.

Assessments will be billed at about $110 per frontage foot, or as low as $92 per foot if Sussex and the City of Pewaukee chip in at their ends. Frontage in the Maple Avenue area ranges from 75 to 132 feet.

Weigel told the Pewaukee Common Council that the city needed to set water rates for Lisbon that would cover the city’s costs. He said the state Public Service Commission, which sets water rates, would allow Pewaukee to charge a higher rate to Lisbon customers.

Pewaukee would also need to respond to Lisbon Diggers Hotline calls in that area, which would affect Pewaukee’s water utility staff.

Weigel suggested that Pewaukee treat the Town of Lisbon as if it were a developer and enter into a standard developer’s agreement. Under such an agreement, Lisbon would fund most of the project and be reimbursed as properties hook up.

The city would also bill Lisbon homeowners and businesses directly for their water usage on a quarterly basis, Dupont explained at the Lisbon meeting.

The proposal did not meet with universal support from Maple Avenue homeowners. Judy Duquaine urged the board “not to rush into this. I don’t want it. My water is fine.”

Jane Glodoski, however, urged her neighbors to support the proposal. “We’ll never again get water this cheaply,” she said.


Quarry blast victims split on water plan - They also want more from Halquist

The 57 homeowners whose Maple Avenue neighborhood was affected by Halquist Stone Co. quarry blasts in 2003 and 2004 made themselves heard loud and clear at a pubic information meeting last Thursday at the Richmond Fire Station on the latest proposed solution for their water problems.

The 57 homeowners whose Maple Avenue neighborhood was affected by Halquist Stone Co. quarry blasts in 2003 and 2004 made themselves heard loud and clear at a public information meeting last Thursday at the Richmond Fire Station on the latest proposed solution for their water problems.

That plan would bring Pewaukee city water to the neighborhood for about $3.25 million, according to Brian Dupont from the town’s engineering firm, Jahnke and Jahnke of Waukesha.

The Pewaukee Common Council approved the conceptual proposal Aug. 18. The Lisbon Town Board will consider it at its next meeting Sept. 22.

While the homeowners were divided on the new plan – 26 of them signed a letter opposing it – they seemed united in feeling that Halquist should pay more toward a solution.

A lawsuit brought by 28 of those homeowners, including some who signed the recent letter, yielded a settlement that called for the company to pay $1 million toward any solution the town and the homeowners could agree on.

But because the proposed pipeline’s route from Pewaukee to Maple Avenue takes it past the Halquist quarry on Lisbon Road, the town’s assessment of the company for the system’s construction could run as high as $660,000, leaving just $340,000 for credits toward the 57 homeowners’ assessment bills, according to Dupont’s estimates.

“I realize people don’t like it,” Halquist Stone Co. President Tom Halquist said, “but that’s the deal. … We made a commitment, and we’re going to honor it.”

The $340,000 left over amounts to almost $6,000 for each homeowner, but many of them told town officials at the meeting that wasn’t enough. Assessments will be billed at about $110 per frontage foot. Frontage in the Maple Avenue area averages about 100 feet, so the average assessment will run about $11,000, not including hookup fees and monthly water bills from Pewaukee. The hookup fee is $3,500 per household.

“I’m not for it,” Judy Duquaine told Town Board members after Dupont’s presentation. “I live on a budget of under $1,000 a month. I might as well just give my house to you guys.”

Not everyone in the Maple Avenue area opposed the Pewaukee water solution. Emil Glodoski said it was far better than the community-well alternative that some had supported.

“It would waste the $1 million” that Halquist was contributing to the solution, he said.

The wells would supply six homes each to avoid Department of Natural Resources regulations, Halquist said.

Well hookups would also be optional, Dupont pointed out, while municipal water would make hookups mandatory.

Peter Sparrow asked town officials whether they had looked into applying for community development block grants to help defray the cost.

Town Chairman Mike Reed said no, but Pewaukee Public Works Director Jeffrey Weigel said his city had. He said individuals might qualify for aid if their incomes were low enough, depending on the size of their families, but that Lisbon would not qualify because the average income of its residents was too high.

Many of the neighborhood’s homeowners said they thought Halquist’s assessment should not be deducted from its $1 million commitment.

“Suppose I drove a Ferrari around the parking lot here and sideswiped a bunch of cars,” he said. “Could I deduct the repair costs for my car from what I should pay for the damage I did with it?”

Halquist “could easily pay” the entire construction bill and hookup costs, he said. “They’re making millions from those rocks.”

Everyone at the meeting agreed that the Pewaukee solution was, at best, Plan B. Plan A would bring in Sussex water instead.

“It’s a matter of 700 feet versus 2½ miles,” Dupont pointed out.

Maple Avenue area resident Ron Kroll said the problem was the “age-old dispute” between Sussex and Lisbon. “It’s time to call it quits on this Hatfield and McCoy feud. … It’s time for the town to stand up for the residents and step back and relinquish the territory.”

Town Administrator Jeff Musche pointed out that the town had talked with Sussex about three years ago about annexing the area to supply it with water, but the village’s plan would require it to supply the neighborhood with sewer, too, plus sidewalks, curbs and gutters, storm sewers and new roads. Sussex officials also said at the time that it would have to annex an additional 800 acres, as well.

The total cost of the Sussex plan would amount to $60,000 per house, he said.

“   ’What about doing it for humanitarian reasons?’ we asked them,” Musche said, “but that wasn’t on the table.”

The Pewaukee plan does call for some cooperation from Sussex. The northern end of the proposed pipeline would interconnect with the southern end of Sussex’s Maple Avenue line for emergencies in case portions of pipelines on either side broke – a benefit for both communities, Dupont said.

Village President Tony Lapcinski doesn’t consider it a given, however. “We need to know more,” he said in an interview.

“The City of Pewaukee has so many conditions,” he said. “We’re hearing a lot of ifs from them.”

Weigel said at Thursday’s meeting that the Maple Avenue neighborhood would not come online until 2010 or 2011, after the city has built a new water system and added other infrastructure improvements.

The interconnect between the two systems would also have to be regulated to account for differences in pressure between the Pewaukee and Sussex systems, Dupont noted.


A chance for Sussex and Lisbon to do the right thing - together

Shame on Sussex and Lisbon officials for not doing more to lay down their arms and arrive at a solution for the Maple Avenue neighborhood whose 58 families’ wells were damaged or contaminated five years ago.

Government is charged with protecting the health, safety and welfare of its citizens, and here we have nearly five dozen homes with a vulnerable water supply whose neighborhood is played as a pawn in the decades-old turf battle between the village and the town. We need to do better.

The response to a recent survey by those directly affected showed overwhelming support – two-thirds of the 51 households that returned the survey postcards – for a solution involving Sussex water. Considering the amount of money involved, that’s an impressive showing. But sometimes money and turf considerations must give way to higher, humanitarian concerns. This is one of those times.

A lot of options are on the table, from allowing Sussex to annex the affected neighborhood to merely providing its residents with Sussex water. Even getting water from the City of Pewaukee is an option.

This is an opportunity. This is a chance to wipe the slate clean. This is a chance to wipe away years of pettiness, squabbling and back stabbing. Let’s use this as a springboard to better relations, better planning and government that actually works for the people and the common good, not for petty provincial advantage.

Rising above the past is the only way the Sussex-Lisbon community is ever going to realize it’s stronger together than than its components are separately.


Lisbon seeks Sussex water for Maple Avenue - again

Five years after quarry blasts damaged well pumps or contaminated water for about half of the 58 homes at the south end of Maple Avenue, the town appears no closer to a solution for the neighborhood's water problems.

Five years after quarry blasts damaged well pumps or contaminated water for about half of the 58 homes at the south end of Maple Avenue, the town appears no closer to a solution for the neighborhood's water problems.

A proposal to bring Pewaukee city water to the area for about $3.25 million failed to win the support of the majority of the homeonwers surveyed by Janke and Janke, the town’s engineering firm.

Only 22 (43 percent) of the 51 property owners who responded said they wanted municipal water, regardless of whether it came from Sussex or Pewaukee, but another 12 (24 percent) said they wanted Sussex water. A third of the survey respondents said they preferred a system of shared deep wells.

Combining the totals, Sussex water was clearly the preferred solution of 34 (or two-thirds) of the property owners surveyed, and the Lisbon Town Board agreed at its last meeting two weeks ago to pursue that option.

It takes two to tango, however, and Sussex leaders are not ready yet to jump in with both feet.

Village President Tony Lapcinski, for one, was not swayed by the survey.

“Those were half-questions at best, and they didn’t include the cost,” he said. “We’re talking about a pretty big change in the relationship between our two communities without them even talking to us much about it. They never seem to put Sussex on their agenda except what they want to do with our water.”

Sussex has maintained a policy of not exporting water beyond its borders, with one exception, the Seven Stones subdivision at Highways K and 164.

Nevertheless, Lapcinski said, “We’re willing to sit down and talk if Lisbon wants to get serious and start from Square 1.”

Lisbon Town Administrator Jeff Musche says it’s a win-win solution for both the Maple Street homeowners and the Village of Sussex. In an e-mailed response to a Lake Country Publications query, he said the village would collect $102,776 in mandatory connection fees for all 58 homes at $1,772 each and annual operating revenue of about $20,000, estimating average usage at 60,000 gallons per year per home.

“I don’t see a downside for the Sussex (water) utility,” he wrote. “Sussex is currently facing large capital needs to treat for radium in its sytem. Expanding the system and adding new users will spread the cost over a larger number of users, thereby benefiting each utility customer.”

Lapcinski also wanted to know, however, who would pay for maintenance and repair of the system.

The Pewaukee proposal calls for the city to pay, but allows it to bill the users for reimbursement.

Lisbon and the Maple Avenue homeowners aren’t the only ones who favor the Sussex solution. Halquist Stone Co. President Tom Halquist does, too, though he said he’ll go along with whatever the town and the homeowners decide.

The company has agreed to contribute $1 million toward any solution as part of a legal settlement with the 28 homeowners who sued the company for claimed damages resulting from quarry blasts in 2003 and 2004 and other issues.

The Sussex solution would direct more of that money directly to the homeowners to help them pay for municipal water, but the Pewaukee solution would leave just $340,000 for the homeowners, because the proposed pipeline’s route would take it past the Halquist quarry on Lisbon Road, forcing the company to pay the town as much as $660,000 toward the system’s construction.

The village’s Maple Avenue water line ends around the National Guard Armory, just 700 feet from the affected neighborhood. A Pewaukee line would take 2½ miles before it reached those homes.

Despite Lapcinski’s seeming lack of enthusiasm for moving ahead with a Sussex solution, Lisbon Town Chairman Mike Reed said he considered the village leader’s response a “positive sign. He’s asking questions related to moving forward on this.”

Some in Lisbon suspect Sussex officials want to link the water issue with other issues, including renegotiation of the border agreement between the two communities that some Sussex officials consider unbalanced in Lisbon’s favor, but, Reed said, “I don’t get that feeling from Tony. He’s not trying to make up for the past or use the issue as a bargaining chip. He’s a businessman.”

Musche and Reed also hope humanitarian considerations will help sway Sussex to see things their way.

“The bottom line is, that’s why we’re all in public service,” Reed said. “That’s the core of the issue. It’s time we put past differences aside and come up with a solution.”


Lisbon set on Sussex water for Maple Ave. - Not so fast, says village president

Lisbon Town Chairman Michael Reed made a formal proposal to Sussex last Friday that would bring village water to the 57 homes on Lisbon's end of Maple Avenue.

Lisbon Town Chairman Michael Reed made a formal proposal to Sussex last Friday that would bring village water to the 57 homes on Lisbon’s end of Maple Avenue.

Reed’s proposal adds a new incentive: a $100,000 signing bonus on top of $104,000 in hookup fees for 57 households and $20,000 a year in estimated water fees from those homeowners.

One of the village’s water mains ends near the National Guard Armory. The new Lisbon extension would also supply several Sussex homes south of the armory, but north of the village’s border with Lisbon.

Town officials estimate that the town will collect another $70,000 from those Sussex homeowners and would refund half of that estimated amount to the village.

“By requiring neither Sussex nor Lisbon taxpayers to invest a dime,” Reed wrote in his letter to Village President Tony Lapcinski, “I believe this proposal meets the acid test of providing the greatest good for the greatest financial return for the Village of Sussex residents.”

Reed tried to turn the page on the historically stormy relationship between the two communities by “appealing to our joint common sense of service to our constituents by doing the right thing for the benefit of the greater good.”

Interviewed Sunday, Lapcinski has some reservations about the proposal.

“It’s not about the details,” he said. “I hope the Lisbon board agrees to sit down and talk about everything, not just a single subject when there are so many other things we could be doing together.”

Lapcinski had some questions about the details, too. The proposed design “doesn’t include a loop” back to the village’s water system, he pointed out, and the village already has plans to loop it back to its own commercial center without going through Lisbon.

“I know Mr. Reed is genuinely interested in improving cooperation between our two communities, and so am I,” he said. “I just think this proposal is a little out of the timing cycle. … I don’t see the urgency.

“I’d be glad to sit down and talk with them if Lisbon agrees to sit down and talk about other subjects Sussex might want to talk about,” he added. “We’ve made a couple of requests of Lisbon over the last couple of years (related to the Public Works Department, paying for the 4th of July fireworks and other issues) that Lisbon has turned us down on.”

Lapcinski suggested the two boards agree to meet to discuss all the issues both want to talk about, assuring Lisbon officials that he wasn’t talking about opening the border agreement for renegotiation.

His predecessor as village president, Michael Knapp, had said such renegotiation would be required before the village could supply water to Lisbon. Sussex has already made one exception to the rule, however, supplying water to Lisbon’s Seven Stone subdivision.

Reed’s letter also pointed out that Halquist Stone Co. would contribute $1 million of the project’s $1.3 million cost.

That’s the amount Halquist agreed to pay to settle a lawsuit by 28 of the 57 homeowners who claimed damages resulting from quarry blasts in 2003 and 2004 and other issues.

The Lisbon Town Board has also looked at supplying the Maple Avenue homeowners with Village of Pewaukee water, but that solution would cost $3.25 million, leaving less for the homeowners from the lawsuit settlement.

Sussex’s Maple Avenue water main ends just 700 feet from the affected neighborhood, while a Pewaukee line would take 2 ½ miles to reach those homes.

Fast facts

? Lisbon has offered Sussex a $100,000 bonus for hooking up its Maple Avenue homeowners.

? Town officials estimate the project will cost $1.3 million.

? Halquist Stone Co. will pay $1 million toward the initial cost.


Water talks dry up

Maple Avenue residents might build shared wells

Town of Lisbon — Negotiations between Lisbon and Sussex to provide Sussex municipal water to 57 homeowners along Maple Avenue in Lisbon appear to be at an impasse.

They will probably have to build new, deeper community wells - mostly at the expense of Halquist Stone Co. - unless the two municipalities overcome their differences and reach an agreement, which appears unlikely.

Lisbon Town Chairman Matt Gehrke told his Town Board on Monday night he had received a letter from Sussex Village President Tony Lapcinski that "in effect says no" to the town's proposal.

The town had suggested the estimated $1.3 million cost to install the water service would be paid for mostly by Halquist Stone Co.

The 57 residents, who won a settlement from Halquist in a lawsuit claiming their existing wells were damaged by Halquist quarry blasting, would each pay $1,770 to hook up to the new system in addition to paying a $340 annual service fee.

But Lapcinski's letter suggested the village wanted a second water main installed.

The main would extend from the neighborhood 3,600 feet east to the Corporate Center, providing a water main loop from the National Guard Armory on Maple Avenue south to the affected neighborhood, then back to the village's Corporate Center.

The letter suggested the town might also be expected to pay any costs related to the installation of the water mains, including road and ditch repairs.

The letter also hinted that the village might want to reopen the existing border agreement between the two communities.

Town Board members indicated at Monday night's meeting those were three conditions they would not meet.

"I am very disappointed at the tone of letter. I would have preferred if the letter would have just said no," Gehrke said.

But he stopped short of calling the letter a setback in the working relationship between the two communities.

For the past two years, newly elected officials in both municipalities had been claiming they were working harder to improve relationships with each other.

After Halquist Stone Co. agreed to pay $1.3 million to help the neighbors replace their water wells, former Town Chairman Michael Reed sought service from Sussex.

"We are once again appealing to our joint common sense of service to our constituents by doing the right thing," he wrote in a letter outlining the proposal.

"The aspect of our relationship and its potential impacts on the future is what is most important to me and the Village Board," Lapcinski wrote in his reply, received by town officials Monday.

But privately, officials in both communities said future relationship could depend upon how the Maple Avenue water issue was resolved.

"I said that I was disappointed, but I did not say it was a setback," Gehrke said.


Water talks impasse disappoints Lisbon chair

Maple Avenue residents might build shared wells

Town of Lisbon — Negotiations between Lisbon and Sussex to provide Sussex municipal water to 57 homeowners along Maple Avenue in Lisbon appear to be at an impasse.

They will probably have to build new, deeper community wells - mostly at the expense of Halquist Stone Co. - unless the two municipalities overcome their differences and reach an agreement, which appears unlikely.

Lisbon Town Chairman Matt Gehrke told his Town Board last week that he had received a letter from Sussex Village President Tony Lapcinski that "in effect says no" to the town's proposal.

The town had suggested the estimated $1.3 million cost to install the water service would be paid for mostly by Halquist Stone Co.

The 57 residents, who won a settlement from Halquist in a lawsuit claiming their existing wells were damaged by Halquist quarry blasting, would each pay $1,770 to hook up to the new system in addition to paying a $340 annual service fee.

But Lapcinski's letter suggested the village wanted a second water main installed.

The main would extend from the neighborhood 3,600 feet east to the Corporate Center, providing a water main loop from the National Guard Armory on Maple Avenue south to the affected neighborhood, then back to the village's Corporate Center.

The letter suggested the town might also be expected to pay any costs related to the installation of the water mains, including road and ditch repairs.

The letter also hinted that the village might want to reopen the existing border agreement between the two communities.

Town Board members indicated last week that those were three conditions they would not meet.

"I am very disappointed at the tone of letter. I would have preferred if the letter would have just said no," Gehrke said.

But he stopped short of calling the letter a setback in the working relationship between the two communities.

For the past two years, newly elected officials in both municipalities had been claiming they were working harder to improve relationships with each other.

After Halquist Stone Co. agreed to pay $1.3 million to help the neighbors replace their water wells, former Town Chairman Michael Reed sought service from Sussex.

"We are once again appealing to our joint common sense of service to our constituents by doing the right thing," he wrote in a letter outlining the proposal.

Privately, officials in both communities said future relationship could depend upon how the Maple Avenue water issue was resolved.


Sussex option dead for Lisbon water

Halquist to build shared wells for Maple Avenue

The Town of Lisbon is no longer seeking Sussex municipal water for the Lisbon Lawns and Winfield Acres subdivisions at the southern end of Maple Avenue.

Five and a half years after a Halquist quarry blast that homeowners claimed damaged their wells and contaminated their water, the two communities are back where they started from.

Lisbon Town Administrator Jeff Musche said last week he had received instructions from Town Chairman Matt Gehrke to stop pursuing Sussex water for the 57 homes in that neighborhood.

"We don't view it as a realistic option at this point," Gehrke confirmed in an interview Monday night.

Musche said that Sussex's response, detailed in a letter from Village President Tony Lapcinski that Gehrke received about two weeks ago, "asked more from the town than they'd ever ask from a developer," especially the demand that the water supply lines loop around to the village's corporate center rather than directly back up Maple Avenue.

Musche also wondered why it took the village six months to respond to a December letter from Gehrke asking for progress on the issue.

Musche said the town also rejected the village's request for more details.

"Why pay for more engineering studies only to hear them say, 'Nah, we don't think so'?" he added.

The town has already spent $26,000 on engineering studies related to their request, he said.

Lapcinski responds

Lapcinski said he was somewhat surprised by Gehrke's response.

"I thought he'd ask for a clarification," he said in an interview last Friday.

Lapcinski said his letter responded to what he called Lisbon's "incomplete" proposal and the village's need to put it in the context of the overall Sussex-Lisbon relationship, including the border agreement between the two municipalities.

"They can't pick and choose what they want to talk about and not talk about anything else," he said. "You can't buy into a $26 million system with an incomplete plan."

Lapcinski denied that the village's response stemmed from any ill will toward Lisbon, pointing out that Sussex now supplies water to the Lisbon portion of the Seven Stones subdivision south of the village's southern border and sewer service to the town's new fire station.

He admitted, however, that supplying water to Lisbon homes was not a village priority.

"It really doesn't affect us," he said.

"Our priority is water for our own residents," he added, pointing out that Sussex recently drilled two new wells to expand the village's water system.

Lapcinski also found fault with the town's objection to including sewer service in its proposal.

He claimed Gehrke had told him adding sewer would cost too much.

"I understand," Lapcinski said, "but sometimes if you want to do it right, you have to spend more money than you want to."

Past as prologue

Beyond the details, however, the sticking points are basically the same as they were after the first Halquist quarry blast in October 2003.

Though the leaders of both communities have changed, their predecessors, Sussex Village President Michael Knapp and Lisbon Town Chairman Gerald Schmitz, also exchanged a series of letters and proposals that failed to bring any water to the beleaguered Maple Avenue homeowners.

Both today and in 2003, the Sussex leadership ties the issue to the "context of the border agreement" between the two communities, while Lisbon insists that the matter can be handled separately, or as an amendment to the border deal without affecting the body of the agreement itself.

Back in 2004, Schmitz presented two possible amendments to the border agreement: one which would extend Sussex sewer and water service down Maple Avenue, and another which would annex the neighborhood to Sussex altogether.

The village did not accept either proposal.

Future lies with Halquist

With the Sussex option now all but dead, the town is now out of the picture altogether, Musche said.

That puts the ball back in Halquist's hands, he added.

Halquist Stone Co. agreed more than a year ago to settle a lawsuit filed against the company by more than half of the Maple Avenue neighborhood's 57 homeowners.

The settlement called for Halquist to contribute $1 million toward solving the homeowners' water problems. Company officials had hoped they would be contributing to a municipal water solution, but had agreed to build deep community wells the homeowners would share (about three to five per well) if the preferred solution failed.

Company Co-president Tom Halquist said he didn't want to talk about it much.

"It's a private matter now between us and the homeowners, not a public matter. We're going to do what we said we were going to do, and that's the extent of what you're going to hear from us."

The project cannot remain entirely "private," however, because it will need state permits, Gehrke said.


Lisbon won't seek water from Sussex

Halquist to build shared wells for Maple Avenue

The Town of Lisbon is no longer seeking Sussex municipal water for the Lisbon Lawns and Winfield Acres subdivisions at the southern end of Maple Avenue.

Five and a half years after a Halquist quarry blast that homeowners claimed damaged their wells and contaminated their water, the two communities are back where they started.

Lisbon Town Administrator Jeff Musche said last week he had received instructions from Town Chairman Matt Gehrke to stop pursuing Sussex water for the 57 homes in that neighborhood.

"We don't view it as a realistic option at this point," Gehrke confirmed in an interview Monday night.

Musche said that Sussex's response, detailed in a letter from Village President Tony Lapcinski that Gehrke received about two weeks ago, "asked more from the town than they'd ever ask from a developer," especially the demand that the water supply lines loop around to the village's corporate center rather than directly back up Maple Avenue.

Lapcinski responds

Lapcinski said he was somewhat surprised by Gehrke's response.

"I thought he'd ask for a clarification," he said in an interview last Friday.

Lapcinski said his letter responded to what he called Lisbon's "incomplete" proposal and the village's need to put it in the context of the overall Sussex-Lisbon relationship.

"They can't pick and choose what they want to talk about and not talk about anything else," he said. "You can't buy into a $26 million system with an incomplete plan."

Lapcinski denied that the village's response stemmed from any ill will toward Lisbon, pointing out that Sussex now supplies water to the Lisbon portion of the Seven Stones subdivision and sewer service to the town's new fire station.

He admitted, however, that supplying water to Lisbon homes was not a priority.

"Our priority is water for our own residents," he added.

Lapcinski also found fault with the town's objection to including sewer service in its proposal.

He claimed Gehrke had told him adding sewer would cost too much.

"I understand," Lapcinski said, "but sometimes if you want to do it right, you have to spend more money than you want to."

Past as prologue

Beyond the details, however, the sticking points are basically the same as they were after the first Halquist quarry blast in October 2003.

Though the leaders of both communities have changed, their predecessors, Sussex Village President Michael Knapp and Lisbon Town Chairman Gerald Schmitz, also exchanged a series of letters and proposals that failed to bring any water to the beleaguered Maple Avenue homeowners.

Both today and in 2003, the Sussex leadership ties the issue to the "context of the border agreement," while Lisbon insists that the matter can be handled separately, or as an amendment to the border deal, without affecting the body of the agreement itself.

Back in 2004, Schmitz presented two possible amendments to the agreement: one that would extend Sussex sewer and water service down Maple Avenue, and another that would annex the neighborhood to Sussex.

The village did not accept either proposal.

Future lies with Halquist

With the Sussex option now all but dead, the town is out of the picture altogether, Musche said.

That puts the ball back in Halquist's hands, he added.

Halquist Stone Co. agreed more than a year ago to settle a lawsuit filed against the company by more than half of the Maple Avenue neighborhood's 57 homeowners.

The settlement called for Halquist to contribute $1 million toward solving the homeowners' water problems. Company officials had hoped they would contribute to a municipal water solution, but had agreed to build deep community wells the homeowners would share if the preferred solution failed.

Company Co-president Tom Halquist said he didn't want to talk about it much.

"It's a private matter now between us and the homeowners, not a public matter. We're going to do what we said we were going to do, and that's the extent of what you're going to hear from us," he said.

The project cannot remain entirely "private," however, because it will need state permits, Gehrke said.


 

 

 

 

 

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