Areas near Sugar Camp and Indian lakes to remain single family residential
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The audience seats in the Oneida County Board Room were filled Wednesday when the county’s Planning and Development Committee considered applying general zoning in the shoreland zone in the unzoned towns of Monico, Enterprise and Sugar Camp.
What generated the most interest among those in attendance was how the general zoning could be applied in Sugar Camp, which has been using general zoning in the shoreland district, except for explicitly designating property in the town near Sugar Camp and Indian lakes as single family residential, which is known in the county zoning regulations as District No. 2.
County planning and zoning director Karl Jennrich said he received “a lot of letters from citizens who live on Indian Lake and Sugar Camp Lake stating they want single family (zoning) to remain on those two lakes.”
“A lot of people want District No. 2 on those lakes to remain,” he said. “They don’t want it to disappear.”
Jennrich noted Wisconsin Act 55 does not allow counties to prohibit the tearing down and rebuilding of existing non-conforming structures within 75 feet of the ordinary high water mark, while expansions will be allowed once the county’s new zoning provisions take effect.
Counties that currently have shoreland zoning ordinance standards more restrictive than established in the applicable state law and regulations can no longer enforce the stricter standards. Oneida County is in the process of revising its shoreland protection ordinance with public hearings set for Feb. 27 in Woodruff, March 1 in Three Lakes and March 2 in Rhinelander.
Planning and Development Committee chairman Scott Holewinski, who is also the Sugar Camp town chairman, said the town board doesn’t oppose general use zoning the county is enacting for unzoned towns and wants the areas around Sugar Camp and Indian lakes to remain single family residential.
“We’ve had single family residential (zoning) around Sugar Camp and Indian Lake for 25 years,” Holewinski said. “People have bought their homes based on that residential-type atmosphere.”
Jennrich said the county has applied its least restrictive zoning, which is known as District No. 10 for general use, in the shoreland areas of the town, except for the two areas near Sugar Camp and Indian lakes.
“The way our ordinance is written, and is going to public hearing, it’s written that way anyways,” he said.
Sugar Camp resident Dave Noel, who was involved in putting together a study related to how water quality could affect property values in Oneida County, spoke in favor of keeping single family residential zoning near Sugar Camp and Indian lakes.
Noel noted the approximately 200 full-time and seasonal residents who live around the two lakes pay more than $500,000 annually in property taxes with the total asset value of their parcels more than $58 million, which is 17 percent of the total asset value of the town.
“In addition to that, these residents – both full-time and part-time – contribute almost $4 million a year to the local economy,” he said “So, it’s important to them that they – and all of us – that we retain this single family resident community feeling.”
Holewinski noted concern about the single family residential zoning being removed near the two lakes related to how Act 55 had previously been interpreted by Jennrich, who now favors keeping the zoning there as it now exists.
“The town board was unanimous in favor of keeping it single family, and I did not hear one resident in the town that was against keeping it the way it was,” Holewinski said.
All three committee members present voted in favor of keeping single family residential zoning near Sugar Camp and Indian lakes.