James P. Siepmann
Siepmann Realty Corporation
Waukesha, Wisconsin

James P. Siepmann is a land developer who specializes in developing open space communities that allow for new homes yet preserve the rural character of each site through protection of environmentally sensitive areas. One of his showcase projects is The Preserve at Hunter’s Lake, which was developed in 1994. The Preserve consists of 267 acres of land with three-quarters of a mile of frontage along the east side of a small, spring-fed lake in Ottawa, Wisconsin. Siepmann, who works with his father, brother, and sister in the business, could have divided the lake frontage into separate lots, but instead chose to make it a part of The Preserve’s open space for all the residents to enjoy. The lots are clustered in groups of two to four in areas backed by woods. About 180 acres of land are open, including all of the lake frontage. The roads were built with curbs instead of shoulders to protect as much of the land as possible, and native vegetation was planted. A small boardwalk to the lake gives property owners their only direct access, and use is restricted to canoe and paddle boats. As part of the project’s mitigation arrangement, Siepmann agreed to restore a degraded sedge meadow on the bank of the stream.

The Preserve at Hunter’s Lake is held up as a model by county and regional planners. Siepmann has shown that development and environmental protection can go hand in hand.

— Susan Asmus, National Association of Home Builders