Public hearing on revisions held at Courthouse
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Oneida County residents had one more opportunity to have their say on proposed changes to the county’s shoreland protection ordinance during a public hearing Wednesday at the Courthouse in Rhinelander before the county’s Planning and Development Committee, which also will be accepting written comments on the revisions prior to deliberations at its meeting July 19.
The changes in the county ordinance are being made in response to revisions in state law, for which 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.
The committee, which has been going through the planned changes with the county’s planning and zoning department, previously held public hearings Feb. 27 at the Woodruff Town Hall, March 1 in the Three Lakes Town Board Room and March 2 in the County Board Room of the Courthouse in Rhinelander.
In response to comments at the first three public hearings, committee members made changes to the proposed ordinance and scheduled the fourth public hearing held Wednesday when many of the comments expressed had been is support of keeping single-family residential zoning around Indian and Sugar Camp lakes, even though the town of Sugar Camp itself is unzoned.
Lake association members – such as Oneida County Lakes and Rivers Association president Bob Martini, who also spoke at Wednesday’s meeting – have called for a reduction in the allowable square footage for boathouses in the interest of protecting water quality. The county is able to regulate the size of boathouses under the revisions in state law, but can’t prohibit them outright.
After the first three public hearings, committee members revised the wording related to boathouses so that on lakes less than 500 acres, rivers and streams, the maximum width of a new boathouse may not exceed 14 feet or a maximum footprint of 336 square feet. On lakes 500 acres or more, flowages and chains, the maximum width of a new boathouse may not exceed 24 feet or a maximum footprint of 720 square feet.
The proposed language also allows boathouses to have flat roofs as long as those roofs shed water away from the Ordinary High Water Mark.
Following the committee’s deliberations July 19, the proposed ordinance revisions are scheduled to be forwarded to the full County Board for final approval at its August meeting.