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Wisconsin residents worry development will endanger lake

File photo (WLUK/Scott Hurley)

FRANKLIN (AP) -- Residents of a condo development in southeast Wisconsin fear a $43 million school complex will diminish their scenic setting and endanger the health of a local lake.

The Franklin School District has proposed a nearly 200,000-square-foot, two-story building near Tuckaway Shores, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported .

Residents said they worry the development will affect the lake's water quality. The lake draws in a variety of waterfowl, such as loons, blue heron and kingfishers. Residents enjoy swimming, fishing and pedal boats during the summer.

"This is a gorgeous setting; there's nothing like it in the area," said Karen Grishaber, who has lived at the condos for nearly 26 years. "If you impact this lake, you'll negatively impact our property values and our quality of life."

Residents have invested thousands of dollars for algae treatments and bridge constructions at the lake and say they fear the improvements will be impacted.

Superintendent Judy Mueller said the site has been designed carefully to meet environmental standards.

The city has a strict natural resource protection statute, but developers can file for exceptions.

Common Council has given the district an exception that would allow it to cut down about an acre of woodlands and remove less than 10,000 square feet of wetland. It would construct a more than 17,000-square-foot wetland to mitigate the loss.

The new school building will sit only 30 feet away from the condo's property line. The district plans to add more trees as a buffer along the border, said Mark Cloutier, the district's facilities manager.

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