WCLRA Urges Return to Local Control of Shoreland Zoning

On September 18, 2015, Washburn County Lakes and Rivers Association (WCLRA) passed a resolution, shown below, urging the immediate repeal of Act 55, Sections 1922 D through 1922K, amending Wisconsin Statue 59.692 as it pertains to shoreland zoning.  At their October meeting, the Washburn County Board of Supervisors passed a similar resolution.  WCLRA and Washburn County are among numerous organizations, individuals and county boards statewide working to repeal the legislation.  Prior to this policy change, counties and communities were able to implement stronger shoreland zoning standards than the state minimums.  Counties could address specific conditions unique to particular lakes in order to protect water quality.  Before adopting zoning ordinance changes at the local level, there had been opportunity for stakeholder and public input.

The new shoreland zoning policy was passed this spring as part of the Wisconsin state budget bill.  Because this action was inserted into the budget bill in the final stages of approval, there was no hearing and little opportunity for public input on this bill.  As it now stands, communities no longer have the ability to address water quality issues specific to their areas in any way that exceeds state minimum shoreland zoning standards.  The one-size-fits-all approach removes local control, without stakeholder and public input, and jeopardizes the water quality of our treasured lake resources.

People can find more information about this policy change on the Wisconsin Lakes website.  WCLRA strongly urges you to contact your local representatives to express your views on repealing this portion of Act 55.  If you live out-of-state but own property in Wisconsin, you have a vested interest in protecting your lakeshore investment.  Most legislators will pay attention to a property owner’s views regardless of where their permanent residence is.

RESOLUTION OF Washburn County Lakes and Rivers Association
Urging repeal of part of 2015 Act 55 relating to shoreland zoning

WHEREAS, the State of Wisconsin passed Act 55 which significantly alters Shoreland Zoning Standards that will have a huge negative impact on water quality in Wisconsin; and

WHEREAS, all lakes and waterways have different needs to insure water quality and this bill takes away local control by prohibiting counties from enacting and enforcing stronger standards than the statewide minimum standards and relaxing some of the provisions in the state’s standards; and

WHEREAS, the budget provision was inserted late in the budget process circumventing the opportunity for stakeholder or public input and the bipartisan process through which the existing regulations were developed; and

WHEREAS, shoreland zoning is a non-partisan policy matter that does not belong in a budget bill; and

WHEREAS, Washburn County Lakes and Rivers Association is committed to maintaining and improving water quality in Washburn County.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Washburn County Lakes and Rivers Association, representing twenty-five lake associations as well as several hundred individual members, urges the immediate repeal of Act 55, Section 1922D through 1922K, amending Wisconsin Statue 59.692.

Adopted this day 18th of September, 2015

By a unanimous vote.

By: Craig Walkey, President