The Town of Westport has rejected real-estate developer Terrence Wall’s request for financing. The decision came after board members spent 1 hour, 18 minutes in closed session on Monday.
Wall had requested that the town finance $9 million in infrastructure for Phase 5 of Bishops Bay.
To express opposition to the proposal, several residents attended Monday’s town board meeting. One person to speak out against Wall’s request was Mary Lake resident Paul Kuehn.
“I don’t think it is in the best interest of the current residents of the township to get involved in a private development,” Kuehn said. “This developer knew the risks when he jumped in. Now it appears that he wants the township to bail him out. That’s just not the way it works.”
Kuehn said providing financial assistance is the job of a bank, and not the local government.
“We don’t want the town to become the bank,” Kuehn said. “And if you enter into an agreement like this, it sets a precedent. Who knows what that could mean. What if the developer defaults?”
Another resident of Mary Lake, Sheldon Schall, agreed.
“My comments somewhat mirror Paul’s comments,” Schall said. “My opinion is that the township shouldn’t be involved in bailing out a developer that over speculated. If he needs relief, that should be sought through the financial-lending community – not the township.”
Following the public comments, board members went into closed session with the developer to discuss his proposal. They would only emerge more than an hour later to deliver their verdict.
“We had a lengthy discussion with the developer about his reasons and needs for the financing,” said chair Dean Grosskopf. “We looked at comments by our constituents (and) the advantages and disadvantages to doing this…Given all that, we reached a conclusion.”
The board rejected Wall’s request, by a 5-0 vote.