NEWS of BCLF's JOINT EFFORT to UNDO Budget Bill item 520
and restore control ofSHORELAND ZONING to our counties.
YOUR PARTICIPATION IS NEEDED NOW!
Donations for this effort can be made at top of page.
CLICK THE DONATE BUTTON AT TOP OF PAGE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE EFFORT TO RESTORE CONTROL
OF SHORELAND ZONING TO WISCONSIN'S COUNTIES! SECURE ONLINE TRANSACTIONS USING MOST CREDIT CARDS AND PAY PAL.
The following is a press item regarding BCLF's Oct 10 Annual Meeting in Drummond.
Resolves to Return Control of Shoreland Zoning to County
At last week’s 2015 annual meeting, the Bayfield County
Lakes Forum (BCLF) passed a resolution stipulating that authority of shoreland
zoning be returned to Bayfield County. The resolution came in response to a
provision of the Wisconsin 2016 – 2017 budget bill that took local control of
shoreland zoning regulation away from Wisconsin counties.
By unanimous voice vote, the Forum also passed a motion to
fully support a similar resolution recently passed by the Bayfield County Board
of Supervisors. BCLF has partnered with the Plum Lake Association in Vilas
County to bring legislation forward to return local shoreland zoning authority
to our counties.
State Representative Beth Meyers attended the Forum’s annual
meeting, offering insight into the process that will soon take place in Madison
when the Plum Lake Association, BCLF, and other partners seek return of
shoreland zoning control to counties. Representative Meyers and State Senator
Janet Bewley have prepared a bill addressing this issue. It is now being
circulated and is expected to win bipartisan legislative support.
“The Lakes Forum is a group of citizen volunteers who work
to protect and preserve all Bayfield County lakes and streams for everyone,”
said outgoing BCLF president, James Brakken. “The Forum represents over twenty
lake associations, one lake district, and all our small lakes and streams.
“The deliberate removal of local control of our county’s
shoreland zoning efforts threatens all surface waters. When the governor
approved the budget bill in August, he revoked the guarantee given to our
counties by the state during the last rewrite of NR 115, Wisconsin’s shoreland
zoning rules. At that time, our counties were told they would forever have the
authority to establish shoreland zoning rules stronger than the state's and
based on the vulnerability of lakes. This summer, in the name of property
rights, Wisconsin Assembly District 28 Representative Adam Jarchow (R - Balsam
Lake) used the Wisconsin budget bill process to deny our counties the ability
to establish adequate lake and stream protection. Consequently, our northern
counties’ efforts to protect our waters were set back thirty years,” said
In many northern counties including Bayfield, the minimum
waterfront frontage requirement for shoreland lots is 150 feet for large lakes,
200 feet for lakes determined to be at risk of degradation by overdevelopment,
and 300 feet for the most vulnerable, small lakes. The signing of the 2016 –
2017 budget bill could reduce the minimum frontage requirement to 100 feet on
all Wisconsin lakes. Setbacks and other zoning regulations were also affected.
“The Wisconsin Public Trust Doctrine guarantees that our
lakes and streams are owned by the public,” Brakken continued. “Waterfront
development must be balanced in the interest of all who use our lakes and
streams. In a case known as Hixton v Public Service, the Wisconsin Supreme
Court declared this public right includes the aesthetic qualities of our
surface waters. Accordingly, no individual has the right to degrade our waters
or diminish the public’s enjoyment of them. That’s the law. The right of the
public to enjoy clean, safe, healthy waters trumps the right of an individual
to use them for personal gain, especially when done at the risk of the
well-being of our water resources. Creating thousands of 100-foot lots along
our shores could devastate our lakes and streams,” Brakken said.
In other annual meeting business, the Lakes Forum elected
five new directors, earmarked $400 to support the Plum Lake Association in the
effort to return local control of shoreland zoning regulation to our counties,
and called on the Bayfield County Board to enact a moratorium on the issuing of
permits affected by the recent Wisconsin budget bill action.
Updates on BCLF’s
efforts to reinstate local shoreland zoning authority, suggestions on how to
help in this effort, and contact information for Wisconsin legislators will be
posted on the Lakes Forum’s website, BayfieldCountyLakes.org.
3 WAYS YOU CAN HELP FIGHT THIS ASSAULT ON OUR LAKES:
DONATE, CONTACT, & SHARE.
1. Donate to help us cover costs of lobbying, litigation, and/or legislation.
2. When the time is right,contactyour legislators.
3. Sharethis news with friends and relatives, especially those downstate who can email their legislators.
More on 1, 2, & 3:
1. Contributions are needed now and more when the battles come.
Think of all your lake means to you--all it has given you. This is your
best opportunity to give back to the lake for the future of all who come
here in future years. Let this be your lake legacy.
2. To find your legislator, go to legis.state.gov. Send a short email or call or write. Mention where you reside and where your lake property is, if any. Sample: Dear
Senator, I am a voting taxpayer from Mason, Wisconsin. Please do all
you can to return local control of shoreland zoning to our county. Our
the health and beauty of our lakes and streams depend on it. Thank you.
A. Lakelover, (address, zip).
Sens and Reps listen closely to those who vote in their district. We
need people who spend time up north to contact their legislators down
south. For folks who live out of state, mention that you are a taxpayer
in his or her district. Every voice counts.
Watch this website for news.
When you hear it is time for letters, calls, and emails, participate.
This is the final version approved at the meeting and submitted to the legislature.
Bayfield County Lakes Forum
to Return Control of
Shoreland Zoning Regulation to our Counties
and Repealing Statutory
Provisions Enacted in the State of Wisconsin 2015-2017 Budget Concerning
Shoreland Zoning Standards (Sections 1922am-1922L of 2015 Wisconsin Act 55)
WHEREAS, Motion #520 inserted into the Wisconsin Budget Bill by the Joint
Finance Committee, and subsequently SB 21 and AB 21 were passed by the
Legislature and signed into law by Governor Walker, and
WHEREAS, Paragraph 23 of Motion #520 removes control
of shoreland zoning regulation from the counties and changes the standards for
regulation of existing structures in the shoreland area contrary to adopted
standards in NR 115 and to the detriment of environmental quality, and
WHEREAS, Bayfield County’s surface water resources
include 105 miles of coast on Lake Superior, over 400 miles of streams, and 962
inland lakes constituting 732 miles of shoreline, and
WHEREAS, when NR 115 was most recently revised, Bayfield County and other
counties were assured that counties would keep the right to create shoreland
zoning language superseding the state standards, and
WHEREAS, after public input and review, the Wisconsin DNR and the State of
Wisconsin adopted NR 115 and updated it periodically to include county control
of shoreland zoning regulations and
WHEREAS,BCLFfeels strongly that, in
keeping with our previous agreement with the legislature, counties should be
able to create and enforce shoreland zoning ordinances that supersede the
minimum standards set in NR 115, and
WHEREAS, because many Bayfield County lakes are classified as more vulnerable
to problems resulting from development, BCLF has supported citizen-developed
shoreland zoning regulations that are more protective than the minimums set in
NR 115, and
WHEREAS,Bayfield County has been enforcing publicly
supported, water resource protection standards that exceed the minimum
standards of NR 115 since December 12, 2000, thus accumulating considerable
experience while working with more restrictive standards over the past 15
years, and furthermore, these more restrictive standards have protected the water
quality in Bayfield County and at the same time protected property values,
wildlife and fisheries habitat, and the natural scenic beauty of Bayfield
County’s shorelands, all the while providing flexibility to property owners in
development of their property, and
WHEREAS, BCLF maintains that no change should have been made to the minimum
standards, such as occurred by inserting paragraph 23 of Motion #520 and
approving SB 21 and AB 21, without due consideration by the entire legislature,
the Natural Resources Board, and
WHEREAS, SB 21 and AB 21 as written will prevent the
county and local government units from protecting the environment and the
rights of property owners in a fair and equitable manner, and
WHEREAS, every citizen has property rights that include the right to clean,
safe, and healthy surface waters and SB 21 and AB 21 prevent counties from
adequately protecting these waters, and
owners have the right to not have their property values impaired by
irresponsible development resulting from SB 21 and AB 21,
BE IT RESOLVED, that the BCLF hereby requests that the State of Wisconsin, revisit
paragraph 23 of Motion #520 of the 2015-2017 Budget Bill (SB 21 and AB 21) in
the fall, 2015 legislative session and replace it with new legislation that
will return control of surface waters protection our to Bayfield County and
allow shoreland zoning regulations that supersede the NR 115 standards.
by a majority voice vote at the October 10, 2015 Annual Meeting of the Bayfield
County Lakes Forum in Drummond, Wisconsin.
Brakken, BCLF Past-president
The following is a July 21, 2016 update from the Wisconsin Shoreland Initiative, the lead organization fighting to return local control of shoreland zoning regs to our counties. Find more info at WisconsinShoreland.org
It is time for us to ask all of our partners to consider contributions to WSI. Our funding is at low ebb now and we will need to replenish it for the next session. I am in hopes that Lake Association Boards will also ask individual members to contribute. We have been the grateful recipient of four figure donations from some of our Plum Lake people as well as a couple from outside our area. I hope that others who are capable from around the state will consider making a donation to our efforts. Financial updates are available on request. We are working on a PayPal donation capability for the website, but in the interim, please send contributions to Wisconsin Shoreland Initiative, P.O. Box 193, Sayner, WI. 54560
Speaking to Associations
We have been asked to speak to lake associations frequently and there are now two of us to get around the state. Bill Scott, a member of the steering committee of WSI has volunteered and joined me in Mercer recently for an address to the Turtle Flambeau group. Bill is an attorney from Milwaukee and has a depth of experience in water law issues. He was the lawyer to set the strategy on the Lake Beulah high capacity well case that is perhaps the most notable recent Public Trust Doctrine case in Wisconsin. He is a geologist as well as a lawyer and is well placed for the challenges on our road ahead. We are both available for a quick update on the last year and our plans for next session as well as what we can expect from both Rep. Jarchow and Sen. Tiffany. In addition, Mary Panzer has volunteered to fill in where needed in this effort. She will be speaking to Geneva Lake Association later this month at their annual meeting. If we can help you with a presentation to your meeting, please let me know.
Some of us have been writing letters to the editor and I am attaching one here for your information – it has appeared in 4 or 5 papers s in the last couple of weeks and I plan to continue to send it out. I sent it personally, not from WSI. I would encourage you to get your writers together and send them out regularly.
Steering Committee Meeting
We are going to have our first face-to-face meeting of the Steering Committee on August 18th, right after the Wisconsin Lakes/River Alliance advocacy training session in Manitowish Waters at the Discovery Center. There are two locations for this worthwhile session, the first being in Shell Lake on the 17th and the second being in Manitowish Waters on the 18th. I would encourage you to participate. Sign up is required @ http://www.wisconsinlakes.org/
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
THE HEALTH OF OUR LAKES IS NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE
They are starting to call us names. Rep. Adam Jarchow calls us “radical left wing extremists” on WPR. His partner, Sen. Tom Tiffany, is accusing us on TV of Gestapo style intrusions on private property doing “sweeps”. The sweeps he refers to are looking for invasive species in the water, which apparently neither of these legislators understands belongs to the public. Both of these statements are just simply untrue.
It is a sign that we are starting to make an impression as we struggle to recover the rights that they ripped away with their attack last year on local control of our lakes. It is also a measure of their level of disrespect for lake resident volunteers as citizens, constituents and stewards of our lakes. We are the lake association members who have selflessly volunteered to care for our lakes and protect them from harm. We are your neighbors, or your customers, or your friends. We come from all walks of life and political parties. Our work is non-partisan because the health of our lakes is not a political issue.
The privilege of living on a lake carries extra responsibilities. Prime among them is a commitment to do nothing on our property that could negatively affect the water we live next to, that is co-owned by every citizen, and our neighbors. Our lake associations take on many responsibilities including invasive species, habitat projects, shoreland restoration, water quality and chemistry monitoring. The list goes on and on - I could fill a page with our efforts. None of them deserve a political label, because the health of our lakes is not a political issue.
Our lakes and rivers, our shorelands and ground water, are the greatest asset of our state and belong to the people. They are the foundation of our tax base and our economy in the north. In my home county of Vilas, riparian property pays 77% of the cost of county government. You may not know this but tourism increased more than ONE BILLION dollars last year - not many sectors of our economy can match that number. The waters deserve protection for reasons of economics as well as preserving our natural gifts for our kids.
We have one goal: to maintain healthy lakes for the people, for our economy and for the kids and grandchildren of every citizen, all the owners of our lakes. Private property rights include the rights to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our families. If one of my “rights” damages my neighbor or my states’ waters, it ceases to be a right, and becomes a responsibility for me to fix.
Sen. Tiffany and Rep. Jarchow are hiding behind a curtain they call “private property rights”. It’s a disguise. Don’t be fooled by that.
John Richter, Sayner
Wisconsin Shoreland Initiative • PO Box 193 • Sayner WI 54560 wisconsinshoreland.org
414-587-3760 • email@example.com
Fellow healthy waters advocates,
On behalf of the
Northwest WI Waters Consortium, I share news of an effort to overturn
item 520 in the recent state budget bill. Attached and below you will
see more information on this. Bill O'Connor has been retained to help with this. Bill is a highly skilled attorney and an expert in
surface water-related issues. It now appears a
number of Republicans in the legislature are on board with the reversal
of 520. This is our best chance to return shoreland zoning to the
county zoning offices where it belongs. But it cannot happen without
your support. All countywide lake leaders are encouraged to forward this information
to their respective member organizations asking that it then be shared
with every lake association and lake district member across the board. Every waterfront owner should be made aware of this work. Organization and individual contributions are key to this action.
Northwest Waters has pledged $250. The Bayfield County Lakes Forum has
done the same. BCLF has also earmarked another $400 to be used for this effort. Every lake group needs to support this. Individuals can
deduct donations to the Plum Lake Assn, a 501 c. 3 group. We all know
what's at stake. Let's show Wisconsin citizens that our lake
organizations are looking out for the future of our lakes and those who
enjoy them. Please share the donation address and info below.
RECOMMENDED DONATION PROCESS AND AMOUNT: Individuals should make their donations directly to thePlum Lake Assn Shoreland Initiative Fund, P.O. Box 193, Sayner Wisconsin, 54560. Individuals can
deduct donations to the Plum Lake Assn, a 501 c. 3 group. Lake associations, districts, and other conservation organizations can do the same or, if preferred, "earmark" a donation amount.* When the legal battle bills mount, you will then be asked to send some or all of the pledged amount. All of the contributions rec'd will be used to return control of local shoreland zoning to our counties. Any overages will be returned to the donors on a pro-rata basis.
RECOMMENDED DONATION AMOUNT: Although any amount will be gratefully accepted, because of the significance of this assault on our lakes and the looming cost of lobbying and pending litigation, BCLF ASKS EVERY GROUP TO GIVE OR PLEDGE ALL YOU CAN AFFORD. The Lakes Forum has now committed over half of the funds in our account. This would be a good time to show your support for the lakes we so love.
Thanks for all you do to help our lakes and streams. See below.
Jim Brakken, Past-president of BCLF and President of the Northwest Wisconsin Waters Consortium
Here's an update to the repeal effort on
shoreland zoning changes from the Plum Lake Assn:
LEGAL AND LEGISLATIVE
We have engaged two well-known and respected names in Wisconsin to draft legislation and assist us in getting it passed.
Attorney Bill O’Connor, from the Wheeler law firm in Madison is considered the best and most experienced in this area of law. He is working on a short-term strategy for defeating the state takeover of shoreline zoning lake front minimums so that no more property is split up before we can repeal the legislation. He will also draft that legislation, which will be introduced in the short session of the legislature this fall.
Mary Panzer, of Panzer Public Affairs, is a former Republican Senate Majority Leader. She has a substantial depth of contacts in state government and a relationship with many people in the legislature and the administration. She has already begun lining up support and the preliminary results are excellent. We will have a broad base of Bipartisan support for this bill. A bill just offered by a Democrat, Senator Bewley, has been put on hold, pending joining forces with us on our legislation.
CURRENT STATUS We have signed a letter of engagement with the law firm and the lobbyist. We have begun our effort to get commitments of donations from associations to this effort. Donations have been generous and we have paid retainers and are developing a respectable bank balance. We need to continue those efforts to insure our ability to complete our effort. Our first goal is to stop the mandated reduction in frontage standards until we can pursue our second goal, to pass legislation that will return shoreland zoning authority to each county. We plan to introduce this legislation in the upcoming fall session, which begins on October 20th. We have been encouraged by republican legislators on the potential for repeal of a good portion of these changes. We kept the first phase quiet while we pursued a solution and we are closing in on completion of that phase and are hopeful for success. Now that we are in the papers, we plan to kick off a broader appeal to individuals for support for our legislation.
We have set up an escrow account through our 501c3 Association for these donations and our association will be the point of contact on this legislation. The support for this bill will name all of us joining this effort. Please let me know as soon as you can about your participation. Checks can be made payable to:
PLUM LAKE ASSOCIATION, SHORELAND ZONING and sent to Plum Lake Association, P.O. Box 193, Sayner Wisconsin, 54560. Plum Lake Association has committed $7,500 toward this effort. So far, we have had commitments from more than 20 lakes and 7 lake and river associations for support
and have begun to receive generous donations from individuals. An appeal for individual, trust and foundation donations has not yet been made, but we begin that phase this week. For those of you who have sent commitments and checks, all of us are grateful for your support.
Thank you for helping us protect each of our lakes from this disastrous legislation. We are the last line of defense for our lakes, as each of us knows. It is reassuring to see the commitment from our great associations. We will provide regular updates on the progress of our legislation.
A. John Richter, President
Plum Lake Association WISCONSIN SHORELAND INITIATIVE
Partners as of September:
THE LAKE AND PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATIONS OF: PLUM LAKE, BLACK OAK LAKE, BIG PORTAGE LAKE, THREE LAKES CHAIN, FOUND LAKE, BIG SAND LAKE, BALLARD/IRVING/WHITE BIRCH LAKES, NELSON LAKE, BOULDER LAKE, TWO SISTERS LAKE, PELICAN LAKE, BIG HORSEHEAD LAKE, EAU CLAIRE LAKES, IKE WALTON LAKE, BAYFIELD COUNTY LAKES FORUM, NORTHWEST WISCONSIN WATERS CONSORTIUM, CRAB LAKE, LONG LAKE, BIG BASS LAKE, LAKE KATHERINE, FINGER LAKE, EAGLE RIVER CHAIN, LAKE OWEN
VILAS, ONEIDA, POLK, DOUGLAS, IRON, WASHBURN AND WATERSMEET LAKES AND RIVERS
Sept 28 Update:
TO: ALL WSI LAKE ASSOCIATIONS
FROM: JOHN RICHTER
have reached $50,000 of contributions for our legal and legislative
effort. We seem to be averaging 3 to 6 letters a day bringing
contributions and I am adding the names of the lakes to the footer below
as they come in. Our expenses to date consist of the retainers for the
law firm and the lobbyist of $12,500 total and fees to the state for
registering the organization and principal of another $500 total. I
would like to use this letter format as a form of stationery for our
future letters and hope to get the bugs out of the process soon - this
is not exactly my strong suit, but I will keep at it. As you can see,
we have 41 organizations on board now and a few more still out there who
have contacted us. Our goal is to spread our reach south and our
people are talking to interested groups on Pewaukee Lake, Big Green Lake
and Geneva Lake. If there is
a neighboring lake association that is not on the list below - please
pass on our email and whatever info you have and ask them to join us.
contributions have been coming in regularly and we are planning to
begin our individual campaign through our lake associations and other
sources this coming week. As we develop our capabilities, we will
develop of listing of individuals like the list below. Our letters to
assist you in this effort are drafted for your use and we will be
sending them out next week. This effort is awaiting the update on our
progress on both fronts, which I now believe will happen next week. At
that time I will be able to get more specific on what we have been
working on and how the legislation is coming together. I appreciate
your patience but I know you are aware of the situation. Our Initiative
is growing and our progress has been very good. The response from
Republican legislators has also been excellent.
most sincere thanks for your dedication to our lakes and for stepping
up and joining us in this effort. We obviously could not do this alone
and it was both reassuring and heart warming to get such wonderful
response so quickly. Please send this on to your members and other lake
(Be sure to look for the special BCLF DONATION offer.)
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already know . . .
Shoreland zoning changes, invasive species, increased
pressure, water use conflicts, and rapidly increasing development all impact
our lakes in northern
Wisconsin. BCLF gives each of us the means to understand
the issues affecting our lakes and streams. The Forum offers a channel of
communication with other lakes and individuals, plus access to resources that
can help lake organizations and shoreland owners protect our lakes.
What you can do
. . .
Whether or not your lake is organized, designate one ‘delegate’ to be
the primary contact person for your lake. This contact person does not have to be a resident of
BayfieldCounty, but must have access to email. Submit
the name of your lake’s delegate to the BayfieldCountyLakes Forum by contacting any BCLF Director or sending an
email to BayfieldCountyLakes@yahoo.com today! Consider
joining with an Individual Membership, now available to everyone. Make
your opinion known and your vote count! Stand up for your lake by
becoming an individual member of the BCLF!
How we can help
. . .
We have speakers ready to help you form your
association. If already organized, we can place you on our communications list.
Let us know of issues important to your lake. The BCLF network includes
lake organizations plus many key officials and volunteers. Through your lake
delegate we can address each others’ lake issues, seek solutions and share in
the protection of our lakes and streams.Check out this website for much
more BayfieldCounty lake information!
Who will speak for your lake?
Don’t let your lake be left out!
Remember . . .
. . . Decisions are made by those who show up!
Give Your Lake a Voice!
Bayfield County lakes, large or small, private
or with public access, with or without a lake
association are invited to be members of BCLF.
$10 MINIMUM dues for lake groups
(Additional donations appreciated!)
(We communicate by email.)
Now offering Individual Memberships
(Your support is essential! See the SUPPORT BCLF page)
Bayfield County Lakes Forum, Inc. is
a citizen group not connected with any government body.
We are an affiliate member of the Wisconsin Association of
The idea of forming a county-wide association began in
1999 as we recognized the gap that existed between our local lake groups and
statewide organizations concerned about lake issues. We also saw the value in a countywide
perspective, communication and coordination on problems or opportunities that
affect all lakes. Many representatives
from lakes throughout BayfieldCounty participated.
Check out this website to learn more about how you and BCLF can further protect and preserve our waters!
CHART BASED ON LAKE SIZE AND DENSITY PER
BCLF BYLAWS – Eau Claire Lks 6; Namakagon 6; Iron River Area
Lakes 6; Cable Wiley 4; Tri Lakes 4; Iron 3; Deep 3; Picture 3 Rosa
3; Tahkoda 4; Pigeon 4; Long 5; Spider3; Half Moon 3; Diamond 4; Ahmeek 2; Price3; Owen 6; Bony 3; Delta Area 6; Kelly3; Phantom3; Knotting3; Ahmeek3; Moon Lake 3;Pike Chain5; Bear3; Ruth3; Sinissippi4; Crystal3; Potawatomi4; Marengo 3; Siskiwit4; Atkins4
BCLF Individual Memberships now available. MORE...
AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE YOU WILL FIND A DONATE BUTTON TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE EFFORT TO RESTORE CONTROL
OF SHORELAND ZONING TO WISCONSIN'S COUNTIES! SECURE ONLINE TRANSACTIONSUSING MOST CREDIT CARDS AND PAY PAL. (CAN ALSO BE USED FOR INDIVIDUAL BCLF MEMBERSHIPS)
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