Oneida County committee to hold 5th hearing this year on amendment
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
The fifth public hearing to be held this year on proposed changes to Oneida County’s shoreland protection ordinance has been set for Aug. 30 at 2 p.m. in the County Board Room at the Courthouse in Rhinelander before the county’s Planning and Development Committee.
The changes in the county ordinance are being made in response to revisions in state law included in the biennial budget from two years ago. 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 shoreland protection provisions apply to structures and properties with 1,000 feet of the ordinary high water mark of a lake and/or 300 feet from the ordinary high water mark of a navigable river or stream.
The committee, which has been going through the planned changes with the county’s planning and zoning department, first 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, acting upon the advice of county corporation counsel Brian Desmond, scheduled a fourth public hearing at the Courthouse on June 21 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.
The committee’s public hearing process had been questioned by William C. Liebert of Liebert Architectural Design. He urged the committee to have the June 21 public hearing “wiped clean and you start fresh” after he found the notice of public hearing confusing.
To avoid any confusion as to the proper notice of public hearing for changing the shoreland protection ordinance, Desmond advised that notice for the upcoming public hearing include the current ordinance “is all going to be entirely washed away and replaced” with the new language being proposed, which would also supersede the two previous ordinance amendments before the committee on shoreland zoning while the comments previously made would be taken into consideration.
Lake association members 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 committee has requested a legal opinion from the state attorney general’s office as to whether the county’s shoreland protection ordinance could legally designate single-family residential zoning around Indian and Sugar Camp lakes, even though the town of Sugar Camp itself is unzoned.