The company unveiled a reworked, “minimalistic” plan for a golf course in the Town of Wilson, Wis., that would impact a smaller portion of state land, shifting from 33 acres to about four.
The Kohler Co. said last week that it’s scaling back some environmental impacts of its proposed golf course in the Town of Wilson, Wis., the Sheboygan (Wis.) Press reported.
The company unveiled a reworked map of the course that shows a more “minimalistic” course design with a new southern entrance and smaller portions of state land impacted. Under the plan, they’ll be using about four acres of land instead of the 33 they originally asked for, the Press reported.
Kohler Co. applied last spring to the Town of Wilson for a conditional-use permit for the proposed championship 18-hole golf course, which would be built on 247 acres of Kohler-owned forestland along Lake Michigan and that would use a portion of the Kohler-Andrae State Park. The town’s Plan Commission is expected to eventually take a vote on that application, after which it will go to the full Town Board for a vote, the Press reported.
Jim Richerson, Kohler’s group director of golf hospitality and real estate, said the revised proposal would impact less than 5 acres of wetlands compared to the previous estimate of 25, the Press reported.
“We took a lot of input from the public and from the due diligence process and in the field work, we’ve really modified this quite extensively from the original plan,” Richerson said. “The new minimalist design is really going to preserve the natural characteristics of the land.”
Kohler would also try to eliminate the invasive plant species known as Japanese barberry, which they called “impenetrable.” Richerson said the land would be able to “breathe” more freely once that element is removed, the Press reported.
The new entrance to the golf course would come from the existing entrance to the state park then move north. Kohler would also ask to take ownership of a small parcel of state park land that includes an existing Kohler-Andrae State Park maintenance building, which the company would like to use for its operations, the Press reported.
Richerson said they would have to work out the details of transferring that land and suggested that the facility could possibly serve a dual use between the course and the state park. The company plans to file its environmental impact report with the Department of Natural Resources sometime in the next two weeks with more comprehensive information on how the course would avoid adverse environmental impacts to the land, the Press reported.
Mary Faydash, a co-founder of Friends of the Black River Forest, a group that’s opposed to the golf course, said in an email that she personally questioned the lack of details in the plan presented Thursday by Kohler. She noted that Kohler’s economic impact report didn’t specify where they got the data for some of their assumptions regarding the course’s assumed $20.6 million impact and that these changes were similarly short on details, the Press reported.
“My view is that we will know the impact on the environment when an actual detailed plan is submitted to our Plan Commission,” Faydash said in the email. “Kohler’s PR addresses the economic impact without raw data, and this addresses the impact to the environment by saying it will be less! Less than what? The impact has not been calculated.”
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