Green Tree lawsuit dismissed

Glendale, Nicolet had sued to keep River Hills road open

Nov. 23, 2011

The lawsuit over the proposed partial closing of Green Tree Road quietly ended several weeks ago when Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Dominic Amato signed the papers dismissing the lawsuit brought by the city of Glendale and Nicolet School District against the village of River Hills.

The lawsuit came about after the River Hills Village Board decided to try a six-month partial closure of Green Tree Road between Jean Nicolet and River roads. A group of residents representing 32 households on Green Tree petitioned the village, first asking for complete closure of the road and later agreeing to making the street one-way for a trial period.

The residents on Green Tree came together after a fatal accident in April 2009 in which a driver who apparently had a heart attack, lost control of his vehicle and struck and killed a pedestrian. They demanded the village take steps to slow down traffic and improve safety on the street.

Additional stop signs were placed at the three-way intersection at Green Tree and Jean Nicolet roads, which is typically busy during the school year and when there are events at nearby Nicolet High School. Village police increased their patrols in the area.

In November 2009 the Village Board approved the partial trial closure. By February 2010 a group of 200 other village residents brought petitions opposing the closure.

Both the Glendale Common Council and Nicolet School Board filed a lawsuit against River Hills. The city and School Board asked the U.S. District Court to consider a federal civil rights claim in the lawsuit, but that claim was dismissed and the case sent back to Circuit Court to determine if the village had the right to close the road.

The River Hills Village Board rescinded two resolutions for the partial closure in the last few months leading to the dismissal.

"We agreed jointly that the case could be dismissed," Attorney Michael Cieslewicz, who represented River Hills, said.

Glendale City Administrator Richard Maslowski agreed.

"As long as the road is open, there is no lawsuit," Maslowski said.

River Hills' insurer paid all but a $2,000 deductible for insurance fees related to the lawsuit. Glendale paid $68,981 in legal fees; Nicolet officials could not be reached for the school district's legal costs. River Hills Village President Robert Brunner said the Village Board has asked the River Hills Foundation to purchase a portable speed display sign at a cost of $9,770. The village will use it on Green Tree Road and other streets in the village where speeding is a problem. The village borrowed a similar sign for a trial, placing it on both Green Tree Road and Heather Lane.

The speed summary report for Green Tree Road for the period of Oct. 6 to Oct. 11 showed an average speed of 26.54 mph. The speed limit is 25 mph.

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