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Wisconsin high court approves Kohler golf course annexation

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The city of Sheboygan properly annexed land for a Kohler Co. golf course in 2017, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Company officials want to build the course on 250 acres of undeveloped land along the Lake Michigan shoreline next to Kohler-Andrae State Park in the Town of Wilson in Sheboygan Countys. The company has owned the land for nearly 80 years.

The company asked the town for a conditional-use permit for the course in 2014. The request stirred up opposition among town residents concerned about possible environmental harm. With three of the five members of the town board opposed to the project, the company asked the city of Sheboygan to annex the property and adjacent land. The city’s Common Council passed an ordinance in 2017 annexing the property.

The town sued, charging that the land isn’t contiguous to the city and the Common Council had essentially rubber-stamped the company’s request.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the annexation was proper. The land and the city share a common boundary that’s 650 feet in length, a “significant degree of physical contact,” Justice Rebecca Dallet wrote.

She went on to note that the city wanted the land adjacent to the Kohler property for expanding residential housing and city officials conducted a thorough analysis of the annexation request before recommending the Common Council approve it.

The town’s attorney, Michael Huitink, didn’t immediately respond to a message.

Despite the ruling, the project remains tied up in the lower courts. The Friends of the Black River Forest are challenging the state Department of Natural Resources’ decision to issue the company wetland construction permits and to transfer 6.5 acres of public land within Kohler-Andre State Park to the company for the project.

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