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Gander Mountain slams 'anti-business' attitude in Germantown

Company says it has faced over-regulation

Oct. 15, 2012

Germantown - The village last week issued a stop work order to Gander Mountain, asking that workers cease painting the outside of the building and restore the exterior to its original appearance until any changes are approved.

According to village documents, Gander Mountain, W190-N10768 Commerce Circle, is in violation of three village codes that need to be corrected by Friday. Failure to do so may result in a municipal citation or other enforcement efforts.

The violations documented include making exterior modifications without permits or Planning Commission approval, displaying a temporary sign without a permit and erecting an accessory building without permits or approval.

The stop work order was issued specifically to cease painting and changing the facade of the building.

Jess Myers, media and public relations specialist for Gander Mountain, said the company's plans entail "relatively simple exterior modifications like updating signage, new paint and other attractive cosmetic touches.

"We have met inexplicable bureaucratic resistance at nearly every turn. Gander Mountain has tried time and again, over the course of several months, to reach a compromise and get these minor modifications approved. Our efforts have been met with repeated stalling, inappropriate over-regulation, unprofessional responses from public officials and an attitude that seems frankly anti-business."

Village code states that any proposed site plan or exterior or interior improvement that received previous site plan approval must be reviewed and approved by the village before any work can be done. Minor improvements can be approved by the zoning administrator unless it is determined to be a substantial change. In that case, the improvements require Planning Commission approval.

Changes to the facade of Gander Mountain were deemed to be major changes to the originally approved site plan, Village Attorney Brian Sajdak explained.

"I am disappointed to hear that Gander Mountain, whom has a reputation of being a good business in Germantown, has chosen to ignore the village municipal code in regards to architectural changes to the outside of their building," Village President Dean Wolter said.

With winter coming, Myers said, Gander Mountain cannot delay any longer and has undertaken efforts to get improvements completed.

"Gander Mountain is prepared to deal with any further interference from the village, including taking legal action if necessary," he said.

Enforcement actions will not be taken if Gander Mountain brings the property into compliance. This means they can either put the building back to the way it was or submit plans for changes they would like to make. Any enforcement action would be halted until those plans can be reviewed by the village, Sajdak said.

If one of these actions is not taken, the village then has the option to issue a citation or seek an order through the circuit court, he said.

"Gander Mountain has been a part of the Germantown retail community for more than a decade, paying taxes and providing dozens of jobs," Myers said. "We have invested millions of dollars in creating the nation's first Gun World location in Germantown. We have a thriving business there, which contributes greatly to the economy of the community and the region."

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