(rough draft 5/6/08)





(001) An irritated Township Chairman has given residents of a peaceful Wisconsin development an ultimatum: If you claim 'permanent residence' on a 6,000 sq. ft. "RV lot" it will be considered a violation of Covenants governing the Planned Unit Development.


(002) Residents have been told the next step will be a court battle between the development and the Township.


(003) Evan Sayre, Fulton Township Chairman, states there is far more money in the Township Coffers.


(004) He's willing to pursue the fight.


(005) He's counting on residents who will be forced to spend money with attorneys in court.


(006) Further, Sayre is confident the residents will lose!


(007) Harassment has been an ongoing battle with folks who reside year 'round at Wisconsin's Rock River Leisure Estates.


(008) Continuous threats recently escalated to a fever pitch, putting many of the senior residents into a state of panic.


(009) During the past 16 months, several couples moved out while others may follow because of the Township Chairman Sayre's "scare tactics."


(011) Originally begun in 1972 by two Illinois developers, Wisconsin's Rock River Leisure Estates became the first PUD (Planned Unit Development) in Rock County.


(012) At the time, it was considered an innovative, daring idea which combined Permanent Home Sites (20,000 sq. ft. or more), Vacation Cottage Lots ((9,000 sq. ft.-plus) and Recreational Vehicle Sites (6,000 - 9000 sq. ft.).


(013) "Permanent Home Sites" were eliminated in 1978, leaving two classes of property only­ "Vacation Cottage" Sites and "RV" Sites.


(014) Rock County's officials considered the possibility that the development would fail and eventually become, a subdivision of homes.


(015) It was one reason the smallest lot had to be 6,000 sq. ft., or more.


(016) At the time, the property was agricultural and used the PUD status as an "overlay."


(017) The "Park" is a gated community with underground utilities.


(018) All common areas must be maintained by fulltime and seasonal management and staff.


(019) Lots are all serviced by the Lake Koshkonong Sanitary Sewer District.


(020) Residents pay quarterly sewer costs and real estate taxes.


(021) Wisconsin's Rock River Leisure Estates Homeowner's Association requires an annual fee.


(022) There is an additional fee for the Water Co-op, a fee for the Garbage Disposal, fees for the boat docks, storage areas and underground utilities.


(023) Seven-miles of roadways, a small Lake/Fishing pond with pathways and greenways, two wells and a five-member elected board handle funds for the Water-Cooperative Association under the jurisdiction of the State DNR, the Department of Commerce and the Rock County Health Department.


(024) There is also a seven-member board of directors to represent the Homeowner's Association.


(023) Fulton Township is not required to provide anything other than fire/rescue services.


(025) Fees are paid both to the "Park" and to the Township for building permits.


(026) The Township Inspector must come in to be certain all street set-backs are met.


(027) Construction must be done by a licensed, bonded, qualified contractor.


(028) In 1991, a letter sent out by Fulton Township Chairman, Jim Lindsley to the park manager of Rock River Leisure Estates threatened if folks declared "RV" sites as their primary residence, Fulton Township would begin taxing the "RV" sites as realty.


(029) In 1996, 133 families decided to challenge the Township.


(030) They hired a Wisconsin attorney, Russell Devitt, and for more than 7 years, tried to fight Fulton Township, since they believed their units were "RV's" and should not be taxed as an improvement to the land.


(031) Case, # 99-246, went from the Wisconsin Appellate Court to the Wisconsin Supreme Court where it was decided that the "RV" units at Rock River Leisure Estates were, in fact, considered "Permanent" realty.


(032) Each was connected to utilities on land owned by an individual within the "Park."


(033) Tax bills from the County/Township, are sent to all property owners.


(034) They include amounts for school districts, lake districts and other taxing bodies, whether folks are using their Wisconsin property or not.


(035) Two years ago, letters were sent out by a former board of directors putting attorneys, title companies and loan offices on notice that there would be no promotion of year 'round living at Wisconsin's Rock River Leisure Estates.


(036) Chairman Sayre apparently felt a sign should be placed outside on a gate stating the Park is for "recreational use" only.


(037) In 2007, lengthy questionnaires were sent out to everyone indicating people residing on their property were breaking the rules and could be filled and/or reported to the Township.


(038) On March 29, 2008, Fulton Township Chairman Evan Sayre came to an informal homeowner's gathering and stated anyone living on an 'RV' lot is in violation of the original Covenants.


(039) Sayre refused to look at, or consider the ruling of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.


(040) His statements are that there will be a reassessment of all 'Park' properties, in 2008.


(041) Sayre claims the issue is about money.


(042) He's stated the Township is looking for more tax dollars, for road improvements, and he doesn't believe folks living at Rock River Leisure Estates are able to contribute what he'd like to see as the future of Fulton Township.


(043) Sayre is demanding a list be prepared, indicating who lives at the "Park" year 'round.


(044) Because of Chairman Evan Sayre's statements, residents fear their values will plummet.


(045) They believe their rights are being violated.


(046) They are seeking legal counsel but, the question remains, why should folks who own their lots, pay taxes on improvements to those lots, pay sewer and other fees, be forced to retain legal counsel?