Minocqua Town Board Says "Nay" To Horses; "Aye" To Some Bigger Garages

Dec 21, 2017

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MINOCQUA – The Minocqua Town Board is O.K. with doubling the size of garages on vacant lots, but not so much with horses in single-family residential districts. That’s the message going back to Oneida County Planning and Development Committee.

Oneida County is seeking opinions from zoned towns on whether the county should relax restrictions on horses being in the above district and whether the current maximum 1,008 square footage of accessory buildings on vacant lots should be increased.

The Minocqua Town Board’s agenda basically consisted of those two issues, so it was a short meeting Tuesday. The county tossed up some options on the horse issue: minimum lot size, certain setbacks for buildings housing horses, restricting number of horses allowed, or a maximum number allowed per acre.

Town chairman Mark Hartzheim strongly opposed horses in single-family residential districts. He said there are other zoning classifications in the county that allow horses and other hooved animals. “My concern was always you have to draw the line somewhere,” Hartzheim said. “There should be one zoning classification where people have the right to expect that this a single family residential dwelling district. And they have the right to peace and quiet, enjoyment of their property for those kinds of uses.” Allowing horses in that districts will raise arguments on “where is the barn going to be; where is the manure pile going to be, what are the setbacks going to be.”

Hartzheim argued that people wanting horses in the district would keep pressuring county officials to reduce the minimum acreage needed to keep a horse. He cautioned about “diluting” the single-family residential district, making it into an “all purpose” district and reducing property values. The board unanimously agreed and directed him to write a letter to the county to that effect.

In the other zoning matter, supervisor John Thompson said the 1,008-square-foot limit on accessory buildings (primarily garages) on vacant lots was insufficient with today’s emphasis on outdoor sports equipment, including 24-foot pontoon boats, campers, ATVS, snowmobiles and the like. He wanted the square footage doubled. The board again agreed and likewise directed the town chairman to notify the county it supports a 2,016 square foot maximum on accessory buildings on vacant lots. However, the town board does want the county to keep in place restrictions of no plumbing; exclusively for personal storage only, not for rental or lease of space; and human occupancy is prohibited.

In other actions, the board approved a Class A beer/Class B wine license for The Loon, formerly Loonland, in downtown Minocqua. Agent is Michael Tonne of Paul Bunyan Logging Camp. The board also approved 18 election inspectors for the 2018-19 election cycle.