Parkland Zoning Crisis Created by Abele Power Grab
Unprotected Land Could Be Sold, Leased Unless Local Governments Act
Milwaukee County Supervisor Steve F. Taylor said today that a “crisis” involving more than 6,500 acres of County parkland (map) that is unprotected by zoning laws was caused by “another power grab” by County Executive Chris Abele.
Taylor, who represents the City of Franklin, estimated that about one-sixth of the city is owned by Milwaukee County and is currently unprotected by zoning laws, meaning it could be sold or leased. But he added that parkland throughout the County has been left unprotected by a state law advocated by Abele when he sold Park East land to the Milwaukee Bucks for $1.
Act 55, the state legislation that granted the County Executive the authority to sell any Milwaukee County land that is not zoned as parkland, included provisions where the Executive received new authority to sell land without a public process or legislative oversight.
Under Act 55, the County Executive can sell or lease land without legislative oversight or approval. The County Board passed a resolution calling for the protection of the parkland. The resolution supports the protection of Milwaukee County parks and parkland, opposes the sale of any parks lacking the designated zoning as parkland, and seeks to rezone them to protect them from sale.
“Milwaukee County residents place a high value on their parks and open spaces,” Taylor said. “Now the County Executive is asking local governments to act because of his power grab. He wanted to sell the Park East to the Bucks without legislative oversight, and now the very state legislation that he lobbied for has placed our parks in danger of being leased or sold.
“Abele claims he would never sell parkland, but how can we trust an executive who asked the Legislature for the power to sell County land without legislative oversight in the first place? This isn’t the fault of local governments, and the burden should not be placed on them to act. This is the consequence of the executive’s actions in Madison.”
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