Kurt Schade, owner of the Schade Creek Winery & Vineyard, took to the podium during Monday's Waukee City Council meeting to complain about calls sending police to his property and about what he perceives as a personal grudge Councilman Mike Watts has against him.
Schade told the council he had three questions.
"Is it the purpose of the city council to represent all the citizens of Waukee?" Schade said. "Is it the purpose of the City Council to promote development, growth and business in the city of Waukee, and is it appropriate for members of the city council to use their position to conduct personal vendetta activities?"
Watts was given the opportunity to respond at the meeting, but declined to comment at that time. He talked with Waukee Patch today about the issue.
Schade noted that on two recent occasions, Waukee Police were called to the winery at 1230 Warrior Lane to address issues of cars parked on the grass and left without complaint.
On one of those occasions, Schade said he saw Watts driving by, stopping in front of his property on a motorcycle, then speeding off. On another, Schade said, he heard from a clerk at a local convenience store that Watts was saying negative things about the winery owner and his wife, Jana Schade.
"Folks this is simple harassment," Schade said. "Council members, it is very obvious Mr. Watts is using his power as a council person to carry out or execute some kind of personal vendetta. I believe this conduct is not becoming of any sort of code of any public official."
Long-Standing Zoning Dispute
In a phone interview Tuesday morning, Watts said the argument stems from a disagreement Schade had with Waukee's Board of Adjustment, a board Watts served on.
In 2007, Schade applied for a permit to build a shed on the land at 1230 Warrior Lane. The structure was intended to be a spot to store lawn mowers and other small equipment.
According to Watts, that shed is now a 5,760-square-foot commercial building housing Schade Creek's winery. The building includes a kitchen, a bar and seating for parties and events. Watts said it is not properly licensed to operate a business.
"I think it would be a great addition to the city, but he hasn't gone about it the right way," said Watts. "He's done it through lies and deception. The city's spent about $4,000* in lawyer's fees. He wants to act like we’re anti-business. It aggravates me that he says we’re trying to drive business away from Waukee."
At the end of Monday night's meeting, Watts noted that citations are in the works for the Schade Creek Winery that demand the business comply with code.
Check back in with Waukee Patch tomorrow for additional information on this developing story.
*This number has been corrected from a previous version.