From: Tessa Schweitzer
Is Steve Jacob a farmer or real estate developer? Winona County Assessor office records point to covert developer. He owns 22 parcels of bluff land in Whitewater Township surrounded by DNR land. Curiously, he doesn’t mention or talk about those parcels or development plans in his campaign. There’s nothing wrong with developing them, if you follow the ordinance. Left unchecked, he could have 35+ multiple residence units in the rural, agriculture district of Whitewater. He already has 5 rental units on Jacob Hill Estates. He’s a farmer?
Part of Steve Jacob’s campaign slogan is “truth and transparency.” He had not verbalized his ordinance amendment until the LWV candidate debate Sept. 26, when he stated he would keep all 300 pages of the current ordinance. His amendment would change the parcel of record date to March 14, 2011, so all properties would be grandfathered in. Sweet deal for him. He could develop all 22 properties with over 50 residential units—his own town in farm country next to the park. His amendment would strip the ordinance of development oversight. “Qualifying” landowners could do anything, anyway they wanted on their land—AND SO COULD YOUR NEIGHBORS—as there would be no way to mitigate negative impacts. Thirty-unit subdivisions and sand facilities, etc., could be built on your property line, immune from ordinance rules.
Mr. Jacob states he won a lawsuit against Winona County and that he understands Comprehensive Planning. He won a SMALL segment, but the crux of his case was denied by Judge Thompson on October 27, 2008. The Feb 9, 2010, Plainview City Council minutes (responsible for emergency/fire response to Jacob’s properties) provide further indication of his planning abilities: “Council Member Goede explained the circumstances with Steve Jacob property in Whitewater Township. City Attorney Fred Suhler said that the city and fire department is not satisfied with the design, construction and maintenance of the driveway. Council Member Heaser said that he had been out to look at the driveway at this property and has concerns for the safety of the city equipment and personnel.”
An August 1, 2010, a Winona Daily News editorial by Darrell Ehrlick, “Land Rights Group Didn’t Bargain in Good Faith,” sums up Jacob and the group he founded: “It is clear this has become less about getting a workable, improved ordinance, and more about revenge and anger.” Check out the content on “The Landowners of Winona County” Facebook page—some extreme views are represented.
Steve Jacob’s actions and income source do not mesh with his campaign rhetoric. He waged a 5+ year personal battle to exempt himself from following the county ordinance and lost. His new approach is to get elected at all cost then change the rules for his own gain at the expense of county citizens.
His campaign motto should be, “Steve Jacob OR the people.”