Vilas County Lake Groups, Towns, Want Shoreland Petition Heard

Mar 14, 2017

Credit www.publicdomainpictures.net Bobby Mikul

Lakes groups and governments in Vilas county are again hoping a reconsideration of a position taken in January to adopt shoreland zoning changes mandated in the last state budget.

The state has mandated counties not have shoreland regulations stronger than DNR rules, which are considered less stringent than former county rules. The Vilas County Board in January unanimously approved its version of state-mandated changes.

Spokesperson Gail Shea- Nardi from the Plum Lake Association says they hope to get a reconsideration of the board position. Shea Nardi says they went to a Vilas committee to have the matter heard, but felt the door was unfairly shut to them prior to the board vote....

"....what the petition asks the county to do is pass a resolution in support of returning control over shoreland zoning to our counties and towns and restoring our classic lake classification system as it appeared before the passage of ACT 55 in July of 2015....."

The past state laws allowed counties to impose stricter rules if local counties wanted more restrictions than state minimums. She says the groups fear having still relatively pristine northern lakes look like lakes where much development has taken place...

"...the state then imposed a 'one-size fits all' solution. Anyone who lives up north knows, or visits up north knows, a pristine lake in Vilas or Oneida county is light years away from an urban lake..."

Seven town boards and 27 lake associations and committees signed the petition.

Corporation Counsel John Albert didn't want to record a comment for this story, but did say the board held hearings on the changes that were all given proper public notice.  He says the board passed the state-mandated changes unanimously in January.

Albert says the proper venue for this petition would be with the state, saying the petition is "after the fact", legally.

Shea Nardi felt the petition was presented properly last year, but wasn't properly heard. Albert says it went before the wrong committee. Shea-Nardi says regardless, the petitioners are not going to stop trying to get the resolution before the full county board.