Meeting Agendas & Minutes

Zoning Board of Appeals 01/19/2010

Last Updated 1/21/2010 9:26:37 AM





January 19, 2010



Board of Appeals = BOA

AG = Alan Gerber

KZ = Kenneth Zeroth

LR = Laura Rusk

HB = Howard Brossard

DH = Darwin Hintz


Zoning Administration = ZA

WAC = William A. Christman, Zoning Administrator

CY = Cindy Yackley, Deputy Zoning Administrator

TJ = Thomas J. Duffy, Corporation Council

Candi Biskup – Court Reporter



1)      Call to Order and Roll Call

AG calls the Public Hearing before the Sawyer County Zoning Board of Appeals to order at 7:00 P.M. in the Sawyer County Courthouse, 10610 Main St., Hayward, Wisconsin. Roll is called finding present:  AG, KZ, DH, LR, HB. WAC and CY present from zoning office.


2)      Statement of Board and Hearing Procedures.

Those wishing to speak will be afforded the opportunity provided they identify themselves. AG gives order of submitting files to BOA, taking testimony, and making a decision. Requests orderly procedure. Gives appeal deadline.


3)      Statement of Hearing Notice.

Public Hearing published as a Class 2 Notice in accordance with Chapter 985 of the Wisconsin Statutes in the Sawyer County Record on January 6 and January 13, 2010.


AG explains because the first item on the agenda could be lengthy, he motions to hear the second agenda item, Jonathan Sylte variance first.

KZ Seconds Motion.

Motion unanimous.




1)         Town of Edgewater – Carolyn and Jonathan Sylte

WAC reads the Sylte application into the record and presents the maps. The Town Board has approved. Thirteen opinion letters were sent out. Of those, 4 were returned with no objection, 2 with additional comments. One had objection. WAC states for the record that


Sawyer County Board of Appeals

January 19, 2010


the wetland in question has been delineated by a certified wetland delineator. Jonathan Sylte is present and speaks on three criteria for granting a variance. Unnecessary hardship, physical limitations and the uniqueness of the property and states he’s asking for a 32’ setback from the wetlands. He passes out a packet and explains each page of the packet.  He also passes out the delineation report and states he’s owned the property since 2009 and the property was delineated as part of the purchase. AG asks if there is anyone in favor or oppose of the application. No response from the audience. AG, KZ and DH each state they had visited the property. AG states that the structure would not be too large and feels the site is a buildable site. KZ agrees and there is discussion on the construction of a basement.

KZ Motions to approve the application

DH Seconds Motion

Motion Unanimous

Findings of Fact: Unnecessary hardship is present; hardship is due to physical limitations; variance would not be contrary to public interest.


#2        Town of Bass Lake - James and Linda Reed

WAC reads the application into the record and states that this application is an after-the-fact variance and that the application has been tabled from the December Public Hearing. He reads the Town Board’s decision to deny and their additional comments. Nine opinion letters were sent out. Of those, 3 were returned with no objection, 1 with additional comments, one with objection with additional comments. AG reads a portion of the Memorandum Opinion and Order from Judge Robert E. Eaton and asks TJ what it meant. TJ states that basically, the Judge has ordered the Board of Appeals to apply today’s standards for granting a variance and that no other past information should be used in their decision today. Bradley Lamb, associate of Attorney Whitley, and representing Linda Reed gives a little back ground information on the previous variances that have been applied for stating that the hardship was created by Linda’s ex-husband and therefore Linda Reed is not responsible. Edmond Packee spoke on being at the Town’s Comprehensive Planning meeting when Linda’s application came before them and he says that the procedure the Planning Committee used was less than common sense. He speaks about the presence or lack there of, the wetlands and states the soils in the area are well oxygenated and the vegetation does not support the wetland classification. The ground is well drained and the structure is not a threat to the area and is not damaging to the aesthetics. No one else spoke in favor of the application. Mark Olson, Chairman of the Bass Lake Planning Committee spoke stating that the Planning Committee takes their job very seriously and a lot of time was spent on the application and feels every option was looked at and takes offence to Mr. Packee’s comments. TJ explains to the Board on how to proceed stating that the Board should only be looking at the breezeway addition and nothing else. Calculations on the square footage is discussed and when asked what is within the breezeway, Linda states her water heater, a bathroom, the electrical panel and the space is all insulated. Discussion is held.


Sawyer County Board of Appeals

January 19, 2010


KZ Motions to deny the application stating that there is great hardship and it’s hard for him to possibly tear apart an existing home and put hardship on a family, but the hardship is not due to physical limitations to the property. It is in a way, a self created hardship not necessarily by the individual but it is an existing hardship that sat there. The variance would be contrary to the purpose of the ordinance and his reasoning is that the variance would be contrary to public interest and would not observe the purpose of the ordinance and do justice because giving relaxation of the ordinance to this great degree would be to deny the purpose, intent and spirit of the zoning ordinance. This would not serve the public interest to the ordinance if providing the substantial lowering of the required area to the Sawyer County standard in development. He states he supports this conclusion of law by going back to the Ziervogel decision by both Judge Brown and Judge Sykes and says they make strong points that apply here. Judge Brown stated shoreland variances must be held too a higher standard then variances from other kinds of zoning ordinances. We see that requested variance in a shoreland zoning case, whether it is perfunctorily denominated be the landowner as an area variance or a use variance, nevertheless can defeat the whole purpose of the ordinance if granted. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has held that property owners are not entitled to the highest and best use of their property and are not entitled to a variance to allow one of a number of possible uses if there is at least one reasonable use that does not require a variance.  He says Judge Sykes evaluated in light of the purpose of the zoning ordinance and the public interest at stake. The board must determine whether a hardship unique to the property has been demonstrated and whether the relief requested is consistent with the public interest such that the public interest such that the variance should be granted, or whether a variance would subvert the purpose of the zoning restriction to such an extent that it must be denied. He says in looking at the 2004 State versus Waushara County Board of Adjustment the board should consider the purpose of the zoning restriction in question, including the purpose of the shoreland zoning if applicable, it’s effect on the property, and the effect of a variance on the neighborhood and the larger public interest. The board should analyze the fact of each case in light of the purpose of the zoning restriction. AG states that a motion has been made to deny the application and to summarize, a hardship does exist but the hardship is not due to physical limitation of the property and that granting the variance would be contrary to the public interest because it would not observe the purpose of the ordinance.

DH Seconds Motion

LR states that she knows where she has to go, but she’s just not sure with the hardship not being due to physical limitations because if the purpose of the request of the variance was to join the two buildings to make habitable living area then there are physical limitations because of where the building sits so she says she’s not sure she fully agrees with that.

Motion Unanimous

AG states Motion is denied by a vote of 5 to 0


Sawyer County Board of Appeals

January 19, 2010


Note: A full transcript of this variance application will be on file in the Zoning Office by 2/1/2010.


AG Motions to adjourn

HB Seconds Motion

Motion Unanimous



Minutes prepared by Cindy Yackley, Deputy Zoning Administrator