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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has obtained a preliminary injunction in an environmental protection enforcement lawsuit against Vespera LLC and Icon Development Corp. The injunction requires the companies to stop work at a development site on Silver Lake in Oconomowoc until they obtain a permit that authorizes the work under state water protection laws.
At the request of the Department of Natural Resources who had received citizen complaints about the development project, DOJ commenced the lawsuit in November 2006. The complaint alleged that Vespera and Icon Development violated state laws requiring erosion and storm water control measures on sites adjacent to navigable waters. According to the DOJ complaint, the violations took place at the Vespera at Porticello Condominium project on Silver Lake in Oconomowoc.
DOJ filed the preliminary injunction motion to stop unpermitted land disturbance and construction work that began in late February on the portion of the project closest to Silver Lake, lakeward of County Highway B. The law requires a permit for any disturbance of more than 10,000 square feet of soil from the bank of a waterway. DOJ presented evidence with its motion that the defendants were not in compliance with this requirement.
Upon consideration of DOJ's motion, the Court ordered Vespera and Icon Development to stop all land disturbance activity on the lakeward site, to submit an application for a water protection permit, and to implement an erosion control plan to protect Silver Lake from the disturbed site until the permit is issued.
"Developers are required by Wisconsin law to properly manage projects that affect the state's navigable waters," Van Hollen said. "These requirements extend to applying for, obtaining, and complying with appropriate DNR permits prior to engaging in construction activity on the banks of the State's waters. DOJ will continue to work with DNR to ensure the protection of the state's natural resources through compliance with the law."
Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg represents the state. Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Mark S. Gempeler entered the order on April 10, 2007.