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5 Diamonds Annexation Victory Short-Lived

While the Common Council approved an annexation request for a youth baseball complex to enter the city, the actual ordinance requires a two-thirds vote.

The 5 Diamonds youth baseball complex came away with a score – but not necessarily a win – Thursday night.

After battling with the Town of Waukesha for months over its operating agreement and conditional use permit – including over the times the field lights should be shut off – the owners of the private baseball field requested annexation into the City of Waukesha.

The Waukesha Common Council approved the annexation on a 7-to-7 vote during its meeting. Mayor Jeff Scrima said he broke the tie with pride.

But after the crowd clapped in celebration and left, it was discovered that in order to approve an ordinance for an annexation – which is a future vote – it requires a two-thirds vote of the Common Council.  That means the 5 Diamonds, which is located off the southeast side of the Highway 164/Highway 59 bypass, needs the support of at least 10 aldermen to locate into the city.

Five Diamonds owner Tom Kelenic said after the meeting that he was never informed the annexation would take a two-thirds vote.

“It is another hurdle,” Kelenic said after the meeting.

While some neighbors have complained to the town members about lights and noise from the children playing baseball, an hour-long public comment period showed overwhelming support from city residents and baseball families. However, town residents were not allowed to comment because council rules requires public speakers to live in the city or own property in the city.

The problem with putting a time limit on how late games can be played on the field and how late the lights can be on is baseball “is not a timed sport,” said the assistant baseball coach for Catholic Memorial High School.

Catholic Memorial, which uses Five Diamonds for its home games, was attracted to the field because Frame Park’s lights were having problems before the council approved funding for the field upgrades.

Additionally, Waukesha South and Waukesha North baseball teams use Frame Park for home games. Because the teams are in the same conference as Catholic Memorial, there is no “home field advantage,” said the coach, who left before Patch could get his name.

“It felt like it was home for the first time,” said the coach. “The quality of the field was great, even throughout this drought.”

Nine-year-old Spencer Robertson told the council “I like everything except for the lights situation.”

Spencer told the council he was up to bat, waiting for his next pitch, when “someone” told his coach he was out because the lights had to be turned off.

“I didn’t understand why my team had to go out in the bottom of the sixth inning,” Spencer said. “It made me sad because I wanted to get a hit because bases were loaded.”

Waukesha Blazers President Brad Henes told the council he was that “someone” who had to tell Spencer’s coach the game was over and the lights had to be turned off.

“Baseball is not a timed sport,” Henes said. “It is something that sometimes runs over.”

Alderman Rick Hastings supported the annexation move because the majority of the kids on the Waukesha Blazers baseball team are from the city. By having the 5 Diamonds in the city, the players would be served by Waukesha paramedics in the case of injury.

“The city has nothing but good things to gain from it,” Hastings said.

But some Waukesha aldermen were vocal about their concerns. While they were told that they could not tie conditions, such as game times, to an annexation, Alderman Eric Payne said that’s the only way he would vote for the annexation.

Alderwoman Kathleen Cummings, who after the meeting was heard saying “they have no idea what they are getting into, no idea,” was adamant against the annexation.

“It is about following the rules,” Cumming said. “Baseball has a set of rules – three strikes and you are out.”

“They are government shopping,” she added.

But in the end, she said, it comes down to the one thing she is not allowed to talk about:

“Lights.”

Voting For the Annexation

  • Rick Hastings
  • Steve Johnson
  • Adam Jankowski
  • Vance Skinner
  • Andy Reiland
  • Roger Patton
  • Paul Ybarra

Voting Against the Annexation

  • Eric Payne
  • Joan Francoeur
  • Joe Pieper
  • John Kalblinger
  • Kathleen Cummings
  • Duane Paulson
  • Terry Thieme

Absent

  • Chris Hernandez
Mike Talin November 09, 2012 at 05:21 PM
5 Diamonds has not been a "Good Neighbor". They agreed to the initial agreement with the Town of Waukesha but when they would not abide by the rules, with complete disregard to the neighbors, they try to foil their neighbors by looking for a sympathetic ear to cry on. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME 5 Diamonds, you are not acting as a good neighbor or good citizens. The Town of Waukesha has tried to assist in bringing youth league baseball but 5 Diamonds owners expect the citizen neighbors to roll over and play ball with them on their terms only.
superdavefive November 09, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Have you ever been to this complex? I urge you to drive out there. The homeowners that are complaining are not even close to the range of the lights in question. The owners of 5 Diamonds brought out a rep from the light manufacturer and installed additional hardware to the lighting to assure they would not be an issue. The homeowners are the ones being unreasonable. Take a drive out and decide for yourself.
BaseballMom November 09, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Who suffer? The kids who just want to play ball. So disappointing!
the 'sha guy November 09, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Not acting as good neighbors or citizens? They provide a facility that 1000s of kids and families use and have great enjoyment attending. The claim that they have "complete disregard" towards the neighbors is also ridiculous. They are not asking for anything outlandish. Saratoga has softball with lights until 10:30 at night. North, West and South have multiple activities with lights going all the time. Loosen up your underwear and instead of being bitter and resentful, go to the park and enjoy a ball game or two next summer. You never know, you may actually have some fun.
St. Swithin November 09, 2012 at 08:45 PM
5 diamonds was only built after the owners agreed to the conditions set by the town. They are not following these rules. Instead of abiding by the rules they try to get a new government. I guess if the ball players don't like a call by the ump, they can go look for a new ump?
clearthinker November 09, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Let's add them up. We had a mayor, a city administrator, at least one city attorney,the development director, a city planner and the city clerk all in attendance last night. Is it too much to ask that with all of this expensive talent in the room that at least one of them would know the rules? Our city government continues to embarras!!!
LogicTech November 09, 2012 at 11:32 PM
The most interesting thing about attending this meeting last night was that one of the Alderperson’s clearly wears a hair piece - to lengthen existing hair, or cover partially exposed scalp. And she seems to think she’s so smart and better than anyone else. You can guess who this is…
Waukytalk November 10, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Whether Five Diamonds is in the city or town, kids can still play baseball.
Waukytalk November 10, 2012 at 02:55 AM
@LogicTech Totally inappropriate comment
Jennifer B November 10, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Hmm... (1) the State of Wisconsin, (2) the City of Waukesha Community Development Department and (3) the City Plan Commission all recommended in favor of this annexation. (4) The City of Waukesha Parks Department also looks forward to this annexation as they recently purchased the adjacent 40-acre parcel for a future City park. (5) And the Bryant’s, who have very generously donated to the City over the years, need this annexation in order to develop their future adjacent children’s park. In spite of all of this, Aldermen Eric Payne, Joan Francoeur, Joe Pieper, John Kalblinger, Kathleen Cummings, Duane Paulson and Terry Thieme, do not want this family baseball facility in the City. They do not want the additional tax revenue. They do not want to provide the City children who play baseball there with City emergency ambulance service. They do not want a synergetic relationship with their own adjacent future City park. And they do not trust their own City staff to enforce their own regulations on property use.
Jennifer B November 10, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Please call and email these seven Aldermen and ask them to soften their hearts and welcome this family baseball facility into the City: Eric Payne, District 2, (262) 544-4688, DOES NOT HAVE EMAIL Joan Francoeur, DISTRICT 14, (262) 547-9149, jfrancoeur@ci.waukesha.wi.us Joe Pieper, DISTRICT 4, (262) 896-0454, joseph.pieper@sbcglobal.net John W. Kalblinger , DISTRICT 7, 262-312-8115, alddist7@ci.waukesha.wi.us Kathleen M. Cummings, DISTRICT 9, (262) 853-6272, kcummings@ci.waukesha.wi.us Duane Paulson, DISTRICT 15, (262) 542-4174, alddist15@ci.waukesha.wi.us Terry Thieme, DISTRICT 1, (262) 524-1627, tthieme@sbcglobal.net
Mrs. A November 10, 2012 at 05:07 AM
This is really sad and breaks my heart. Five Diamonds wants to be part of the City of Waukesha and pay higher taxes, and yet these Aldermen are refusing to let them in. These Aldermen are refusing to provide these kids with emergency ambulance service – even though their City fire station is less than 4 minutes away. How would you feel if your kid was playing there and was injured?
Jason Allen November 10, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Jennifer B- the Bryants don't NEED to be in the City to develop this lot into a park.
Jason Allen November 10, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Although the Town of Waukesha does not have a full time fire department we do have medics that would respond to calls for emergency calls at the field- and lets face it..how many baseball related injuries require "flight for life" type call times...so the four minutes versus 7 or 8 minutes is not an issue worth noting..if it is perhaps a condition the field should operate under is to have private medical (Bell) services on site like is required for such dangerous sports like football..
Jason Allen November 10, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I have heard this comment said many times. Even at the Plan Commission meeting last month. This field is awesome. The KIDS WILL PLAY BASEBALL THERE no matter the city or town, just as they did last year. Perhaps everyone could be more reasonable. There is no threat of the field not surviving..the town allowed the owners to open without them even completing the construction of the facility as was pointed out at the plan commission meeting. like I said..perhaps instead of over-reacting everyone could simply be more reasonable..and I mean everyone...the owners of the field-the owners of the homes in nearby locations-the town board-the supporters of 5 Diamonds...everyone It seems like a lot of exaggeration
Waukytalk November 10, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Kids will still be able to play baseball whether 5 Diamoonds is in the city of town of Waukesha.
Waukytalk November 10, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Seems like 5 Diamonds has had a hard time getting along with the town, and want longer playing hours. Sort of makes you wonder, is 5 Diamonds having financial problems? The way things are going we may end up seeing a weed patch!
Waukytalk November 10, 2012 at 02:40 PM
@Jennifer B You sound like Mayor Scrima
clearthinker November 10, 2012 at 03:45 PM
One advantage to being in the city is that if the owners let the property run down they know that no one will do anything about it!
Mike Talin November 10, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Thank you so much St. Swithin. All I am saying is that the neighbors have rights. The neighbors were there first. I am all for baseball but it has to be within the rules which were agreed on.
Talkywauk November 10, 2012 at 05:23 PM
This is nothing more than “not in my backyard.” Although in this case it’s “not a half mile away.” Perhaps the one or two obsessive/ compulsive complainers about the Five Diamonds lights should have purchased that farm if they didn’t want anyone else to use it, or they could just… gasp… close their window shades. And Comanche Ct S is correct that city staff won’t do anything about enforcement… Aldermen Eric Payne, Joan Francoeur, Joe Pieper, John Kalblinger, Kathleen Cummings, Duane Paulson and Terry Thieme, do not trust their own city staff to enforce their own city regulations on property use.
Waukytalk November 10, 2012 at 06:06 PM
@Talkywauk It isn' t that the Alderman don't trust the city staff, staff say there aren't enough city employees to do it. City residents have complained to the Mayor about code enforcement, but the Mayor does NOTHING. P.S. Since you are a first time poster here, I think you could have come up with a more original screen name.
Hailey H November 11, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Waukytalk, all you are is talk, talk, talk... what have you done to tangibly help the city???
Scott L November 11, 2012 at 02:48 PM
How come there has not been one single fine, forfeiture, or citation issued against 5 Diamonds or their owners if they have had so many violations? I'll tell you why. Because pursuant to their Conditional Use Permit they are allowed to keep lights on after the game to clean up, etc. Out of the 2,600 games played there in the 2012 season there was only one (1) instance where the lights were intentionally left on to conclude a game - a game that was delayed due to inclimate weather. All the other complaints are unfounded and blown out of proportion by Sandy Hamm, whom, I might add is a freelance writer for the Associated Press... Do you really think that ANY person or place could have this many ordinance/conditional use violations without being held accountable by the Town of Waukesha? People really need to be aware of the facts, not the rhetoric created by the media/Sandy Hamm
Scott L November 11, 2012 at 02:55 PM
People who live in these districts need to get their neighbors to contact these Alderman too. All of the reasons stated at the hearing by these dissenting members are completely unfounded! *Duane Paulson, DISTRICT 15: Had concerns about the facility relying on city water. 5 Diamonds has their own water source from the Town. *Kathleen M. Cummings, DISTRICT 9: is feeding into the nonfactual media rhetoric. As I noted above, does anyone really think that ANY person or place could have this many ordinance/conditional use violations without being held accountable by the Town of Waukesha? There has not been a single ticket, fine, forfeiture or any affirmed finding that this facility has violated the rules.
Locally concerned November 12, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Mike- all the articles I have seen states they installed all visors on all the lights which concerned the neighbors. They all play from may to October! Last I checked that is only 6 months which leaves the area piece and quiet for 6 months. Then you comment that the owners are not good citizens, I think those 2 owners had 3 fundraisers that raise 15K in year one. I ask you Mike, how much money did you raise for good causes last year. You sound like one of the nutty neighbors!

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