Town Meeting Minutes | August 24, 2021
AUGUST 24, 2021 SPECIAL MEETING
A special meeting was held on Tuesday, Aug 24, 2021 at the Cedar Lake Town Hall in Mikana at 10:00 AM. The purpose of the meeting was to review a draft campsite ordinance. Present were 35 persons plus the Board and 40 persons by Zoom. Chairman Ken Leners spoke saying that there would be no public input as this is a Board discussion.
We have a copy of a comparable ordinance from the Town of Bass Lake, Sawyer Co. to work with for our town. We would like this developed into an ordinance for our town which could be actionable at the monthly Sept. 13th Board meeting. Ken explained that last June the issue surfaced over at Loch Lomond Beach Club with 150 attending the monthly meeting in July and 130 attending in August. After the August meeting Ken contacted an attorney,Tim Proue, and presented the sample ordinance which we had received. There are parts of the ordinance which do not pertain to our town.
Tony Wolff, Supervisor, interrupted asking why this special meeting had been called as he feels that we haven’t been given an actual reason why! He feels that the Beach Club needs to settle a lawsuit before the Town takes any action. Tony said that this started in June being pushed through before the Budget work meeting. Government doesn’t work that fast.
Ken stated that the ordinance needs to be completed. Tony said that there is definitely a problem, mostly a problem which can be discussed, but what can the Town do to solve this problem? Zoning has been turned over to the County. There are 1219 lots in The Woods. These lots were established many years ago with the town receiving road tax for those roads since the Town accepted these roads. The only discussion Tony has heard is that the campers lot owners are not paying their fair share of taxes. It is not the Town’s responsibility to develop this ordinance. Ken stated this is beyond a zoning issue.
Ken feels that this is a multifaceted problem. 1. Fire number compliance 2. Number of campers on campsites. 3. Sanitation and 4. Revenue equity. Tony asks again what is the problem which is trying to be solved? There have been no increases in services,so cost of services have not increased. The roads were already there. There are definite issues with violation of proper sanitation as well as abuse of the zoning. These are Barron County Zoning issues. If there is a problem call the Sheriff’s Dept.
Ken stated that the county is understaffed so not able to address all issues. This ordinance would address these issues just as the Town is able to take care of the Public nuisance issue with that ordinance which the Town passed. As Loch Lomond Beach Club is not stepping up,this issue comes back to the Town Board.
Ken asked the attorney what research he had come up with regarding this issue. He has the draft from the WTA which is very comparable to the Town of Bass Lake. Tim said that he has read through both ordinances. Bass Lake is well written and has clear points which limit campers. The intent is not to limit campers, rather to adopt an ordinance with compliance capability. Kory has talked with the zoning office regarding requirements of camping. The county already has restrictions in place for the limit of campers per lot. Kory researched the Beach Club where the covenants have restrictions. Some of those restrictions are stronger than the county, but no enforcement. Feels that the Bass Lake ordinance is good but needs to be tailored for our town. Tony says we need to state very specifically the purpose of the ordinance enforced Barron Co. ordinances. Kory agrees.
Ken asked Tim where he saw any deficiencies in the Bass Lake ordinance to make sure that they are covered by statute. Tim said that he doesn’t see any deficiencies as it is a basic ordinance. We could include reference to the Wis. Statutes.
Kory is not in favor of either based on what Ken has said. Ken feels that Bass Lake covers all four points: 1. Fire numbers 2. Guest campers (14 days) 3. Sanitation / septic system 4. Revenue equity. Ken asked if Tim would be willing to draft an ordinance that passes the legal limits test. There followed a discussion of the Bass Lake ordinance.
Tony asked if this was for the whole township or just the Beach Club area? The Beach Club lots are zoned RR1 where other lots in town are zoned R1. Kory does not feel that this is a problem township wide. After further discussion, Ken said the time to adopt or not adopt this ordinance would be after the ordinance is drafted.
Tony asked the attorney if it would be legal to choose who would pay more costs? Tim said the entire township even though this is the only part affected. Ken said this would pertain to the entire town.
There followed much discussion including Vacation Rental by Owner , tourist rooming houses as the county does not enforce those ordinances either. This would be a catchup as there would be no grandfather applied to these lots.
Kory knows that the Beach Club is rewriting policy so he would be curious to see what other issues we are not thinking of at this time. It would be good to resolve all issues when writing the ordinance. Kory is not in favor of creating anything which is more restrictive than the County zoning. The complaint heard the most seems to be the concern over sanitation issues on these lots. There followed a discussion of pumping documents,no mechanism to see violations.
As to the tax equity, this is written by the State Statute for taxing. When looking at our tax statements it tells which portion is retained by the town. Should give consideration of permits and fees.
Ken feels that the Board should act before more campers appear on lots. Have the attorney draft a document similar to the Bass Lake ordinance. This could be reviewed at the September meeting and acted on at the October meeting, as it would need to be published for 3 weeks prior to action. Tony asked what would be the rush? Ken feels this is a high priority based on the volume of correspondence received and extremely high attendance (150+) of constituents during board meetings. Tony stated that everything takes time. This issue was just brought to the Board in June and to solve by September there are still a lot of questions. The Board should continue to discuss this issue without special meetings. This could be handled at regular meetings. Why rush, is something going to happen in 3 to 4 months? Ken feels that a notice, if adopted, should go out to all landowners with the tax statements. Kory stated that there are several unknowns to be able to include this in the tax letter. Wait until the Beach Club lawsuit is settled as it may solve some of the issues and change the need for the ordinance.
Ken said that Delmore is now doing the inventory and should be complete by the September meeting. This will be a good tool for the town, county and the Beach Club.
Ken said, whether the campers are left on the lots year around is irrelevant to this ordinance. If we continue to delay,lots are being actively sold as camping lots.
The Board went through the Bass Lake Ordinance completely letting the attorney know which parts should be included in the ordinance for the Town.
Ken made the motion to adjourn. Kory seconded and the motion passed.