Meeting Agendas & Minutes

Zoning and Conservation 07/09/2010

Last Updated 7/15/2010 10:30:30 AM



Sawyer County Zoning and Conservation Committee

July 9, 2010


Committee Members Present:  Jim Bassett, Bruce Paulsen, Warren Johnson, Fred Zietlow, Bernie Kadlec, Chuck Gunderson


Others Present:  Dale Olson – ZAC Administrator, Tom Aartila – DNR, Dave Kafura – DNR, Meredith Rickert – Sawyer County Gazette, Phil Nies – Bass Lake, Brian Cody – Sawyer County Emergency Services, Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Geist – Winter, Mark Olson, Rick Hasselquist, Jim Gedrich, Jim Hausman, Butch Johnson, Phillip Johnson, Linda Zillmer, Mike Koehler – NRCS, Dianne Ince – Sawyer County Treasurer, Terrell Boettcher – SCR.


The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Chair Bassett. 


Motion by Paulsen, second by Bassett to approve the agenda with the following changes:  move Impervious Surfaces – Northwoods Beach Public Reserve Strip in front of Release of Gravel Rights Fees under Old Business; move Summit Lake Motorcross to the first item under New Business; and add under Old Business 1) Sewage Ordinance Update, 2) NR115 Grant Update, and 3) Cluster Development Update.  Motion carried. 


Motion by Johnson, second by Zietlow to approve the June 2010 minutes.  Motion carried.


Audience Recognition

Linda Zillmer requested Sawyer County sponsor a display at the Northwest Regional Lakes Conference next year.  She suggested better organization of the area Lake Associations and updated signs at boat landings and other public areas.


Impervious Surfaces – Northwoods Beach Public Reserve Strip

Dale Olson, Zoning and Conservation (ZAC) Administrator, presented information to the committee regarding the public reserve strip on Lac Courte Oreilles.  The public reserve strip is owned by the Town of Bass Lake.  The property was dedicated to the local governing body at the time it was surveyed.  Real property abstracts for adjoining properties generally include the description of the public reserve strip in the land description.  Phil Nies, Supervisor of Bass Lake, gave more background information and stated his opposition to including the public reserve strip square footage in the impervious surface calculation used on land use permits.  Dave Kafura, DNR, stated the property is more like an easement that the town allows adjoining property owners to utilize for such uses as having a dock.  Olson asked for clarification from the committee.  Paulsen read the definition of a lot as defined by the Sawyer County Ordinance and interpreted that the public reserve strip should not be used in the impervious surfaces calculation.  Zeitlow questioned the original intent for access of the public reserve strip and would like time to research the documentation.  Olson stated that if the lots are not waterfront, the impervious surface limitation won't come into effect.  Zeitlow will research and report back.  Motion by Zeitlow, second by Pearson to table the item until next month’s meeting.  Motion carried.


Release of Gravel Rights Fees

Motion by Johnson to table the request until next month’s meeting for further information, second by Paulsen.  Discussion on the need for an updated fee schedule.  Olson to investigate the rates of other counties to see if the fees are comparable.  Dianne Ince, County Treasurer, stated there have been six releases of gravel rights in the past seven years, and that the current fees have been in effect since 1977.  She questioned changing the fees in the middle of a request, and suggested the research for new fees be effective in 2011 if needed.  Johnson stated this is the first release of gravel rights to come before this committee and he wanted to ensure the fees were reasonable.  Gunderson volunteered to work with Dianne to gather the information for next month’s meeting.  Motion to table carried.


Tiger Cat Dam Failure Analysis

Olson updated the committee on the status.  The current contractor has not fulfilled the agreement and corporate council TJ Duffy is working to have the County cost refunded. 





Placid Lake Diversion Canal

Olson and SEH completed the four points Kafura had requested.  Kafura wants a response from the landowner.  Olson explained that the owner he had worked with has passed away, but that he has had correspondence with the family’s attorney. 


Highway NN Culvert Issues

Olson presented a draft resolution for a 300’ transfer of land to the LCO Tribe, which would go before the Highway Committee.  Dave Kafura suggested the County Corporate Council check into the treaty rights for transportation corridors before action is taken.  Both Kafura and Tom Aartila stated they believe the responsibility lies with the County and passing the land off to the LCO Tribe is inappropriate.  Kafura stated that studies show there is an issue of water backing up and reviewed the environmental impacts.  Bassett responded the County has a good working relationship with the Tribe, and going through with this project without their support would be damaging.  The Tribe financially contributes to County projects and a relationship of mutual respect is necessary.  Kafura told the committee it was not just a matter of a couple inches, but 1.4 feet that the culvert was too high.  The temporary controlling factor is currently the beaver dam, but he warned that a major storm event could change that.  Jim Hausman asked the committee about the property rights of the taxpayers who are affected by the water levels, and questioned the opinion of the Tribe versus the citizens.  A letter was drafted to Tom Aartila which will be forwarded to John G. and Secretary Matt Frank.  Motion by Gunderson, second by Johnson to table until next month to receive a written response from the DNR.  Motion carried.


Highway E & Demon Creek Culvert Projects

Olson updated the committee on the joint County and Tribal project, with partnership from the US Fish and Wildlife Service through grant funding for culvert replacement.  The culverts will be brought into conformity with a natural bottom aiding the brook trout population.  One culvert has been installed and a part for the other is on order.


Update on Gnome Home

Olson stated the listing agent realtor has been contacted and is aware of the non-conformity of the structure located on the parcel for sale.  Options for removal were discussed.


Notification to Tribe regarding burial sites & artifacts

Olson told the committee the Tribe is now being notified when landowners apply for land use permits on property within the Tribal boundaries.  The ZAC office will be further revising the LUP form over the winter.


Private Sewage Ordinance

Update requested by Paulsen, Olson stated Eric Wellauer, County Sanitarian, has been taking comments and suggestions.  The draft will be worked on further in the fall.


NR115 Lake Management Grant Application Status

Paulsen requested an update on the status of the NR115 grant application.  A confirmation letter has not yet been received, however the reviewer had emailed that the project looked like it would score well.  The grant included funding for a revised shoreland ordinance, public hearings, public education and outreach, and staffing hours for enforcement.  Sawyer County had an advantage over several other counties who had less restrictive ordinances to start.


Cluster Development

Olson updated the committee that the department is waiting for response from Towns.


Summit Lake Motorcross

There was citizen concern over the Motorcross events happening at Summit Lake Game Farm.  Mr. Butch Johnson and Mr. Phil Johnson were both in attendance.  A permit is not needed from the county if the number of people attending does not exceed 500.  Mr. Butch Johnson stated that no events would involve more than 500 people, emergency services are always aware of the events ahead of time, and that he wanted to be upfront and transparent with the committee.  He said he was disappointed the concerned party did not contact him directly for clarification and would be happy to show any of the committee members the facilities. 


Price Dam Update

Committee members were provided with a summary:

The Price Dam in Winter, Wisconsin is monitored and regulated by the Sawyer County Zoning & Conservation Department.  A WaterLog control system automatically adjusts one gate to maintain a maximum water level of 102.7 and minimum of 101.7.  Staff are able to check the water level by phone.  Historically, a website with water levels was automatically populated.  The water level is held at the very maximum at the wishes of the lake residents.


The data logger has not been functioning correctly for approximately 3 years.  The LWCD Committee has been involved in working with Design Analysis Associates to correct the problems.


 On June 3rd, 2010 the data logger was removed from the dam and on June 4th, 2010 was mailed to Utah for repair.  It was received on June 10, 2010.  Mike Argyle, Design Analysis Associates, said he would analyze the controller and call with a price quote for repair.  The price quote has not been received as of yet. 


On Monday, June 21, 2010, the Winter area received approximately 2 inches of rain (5 year frequency storm).  The Price Dam was opened 10% on both sides on Tuesday, June 22.  In the early morning hours of Wednesday, June 23, the Winter area received approximately 5 inches (100 year frequency storm) of heavy rainfall in a 3 hour timeframe (3 am – 6 am).  The dam was opened on one side to 50% at 6 am and then opened to 80% and 65% by 10 am.  The Price Dam Emergency Action Plan was activated.  Gates began to be closed again at 9:30 pm Wednesday evening.  Water levels were monitored and gates continued to be closed on Thursday and Friday.  The dam was monitored 24 hours straight from Wednesday – Thursday.   More heavy rainfall was predicted for Friday night and Saturday night.  Water levels were managed 4-6 inches low in anticipation of more rainfall.  Sunday morning at 8 am the gates were closed down with one side remaining open at 5%.  Water levels currently are stable at 102.6


Zeitlow commended the department for handling the situation well.  Seidl and Olson explained the data logger capabilities.  Mr. Jim Gedrich stated he would rather see the Town of Winter run the dam.  Mr. Wayne Geist, Town of Winter Chair suggested citizen monitors on the lake, and the Town to monitor the water levels.  He said if the automated opener cannot be fixed to function correctly, the manual method should be the way the dam is operated.  Olson stated the flowage is being maintained at a higher water level than is authorized by decision of the lake citizens.  He suggested perhaps the lake level should be brought back down to authorized levels so the storage capacity is greater.  Zeitlow voiced concern regarding the water level cushion and said it shouldn’t be over the maximum allowed for safety.  Discussion of the emergency action plan, communications, and the development of a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the County and Town.  A committee will be formed including the lake alliance, town chair, ZAC committee member and department staff to address the issue.  Bassett thanked Tim Seidl for doing all he could, the Sheriffs department, the Town of Winter, Mr. Johnson, and several individuals who volunteered to hand crank, some whose names we do not even know. 


Grimh Dam

Abandonment plans are available to the committee to look at.  Bid was awarded to Schlosser Excavating of Durand by Ayres Associates. 


Xcel Line

A June 14, 2010 letter was received from Xcel Energy requesting participation & comment on the proposed Stone Lake to Couderay 161 kilovolt Transmission Line Project.  The majority of the proposed route follows existing corridors (pipeline, transmission line, or roads).  A map of the proposed routes was attached and part of committee members packets.  Any complaints regarding the line would be filed directly between the citizen and Xcel Energy, the county does not have responsibility for this project.


Department Mail

Paulsen explained the recommendation to install suite boxes in the courthouse building and eliminating individual department boxes at the post office.  The cost savings would be approximately $1,114 annually.  Olson did not see the change adversely affecting the activities of the department.



Mike Koehler reported there has been one CSP (Conservation Stewardship Program) application in Sawyer County, one barnyard project completed and grazing contracts through the EQIP program in the works.  Crops are looking good this year due to moisture and heat growing degree days are ~300 above normal. 



Issues related have been covered.



No representative present.




Cost Share Reimbursement

Olson presented the Cost Share Contracts for 1) Cleveland Streambank & Shoreline Protection, $1,272.60, Maxon Shoreline Protection, $1,140.00 and 3) James Arlen Gerig Nutrient Management Plan, $3,078.00.  Cost Sharing is available for plan approved projects at varying percents covered by state funding and grantee funding.  No County funds are used, the County acts as the DATCP (Department of Agriculture & Consumer Protection) agent.  Dave Kafura confirmed projects get approval and requested the County use a copy of the contract for fee exemption.  Motion by Gunderson, second by Bassett to approve cost share contracts as submitted.  Motion carried.


Line Item Transfer

Funds will be received from the Forestry Department who borrow a Land & Water truck for a temporary worker in the amount of 1,756.74.  “My Lakeshore Field Journal” Youth Journals were purchased through UW-Extension for education outreach programs in the amount of $1,500.00.  Motion by Paulsen, second by Gunderson to approve the line item transfer from truck use to cover the youth journals.  Motion carried. 


County Monthly Work Report

Olson distributed copies of the staff calendar to members of the committee.  A letter from Roger Stahl, Heinemann’s Condos, was received complimenting Tim Seidl on the erosion project completed recently.  Olson informed the committee that a 3.3 acre parcel on the Land Sale is zoned Industrial, and discussion was held regarding changing the zoning before being sold.  Olson will not be present at the August ZAC meeting, Tim and Eric will report in his absence.  Tours are available from the Rusk County Land & Water Conservation department:  Dairyland Flowage Boat Tour and Tour of Reclaimed Flambeau Mine.  Olson also asked that the invoice in the amount of $255.80 from N.W.B.E. for the Price Dam Inspection after the storm event be paid with this months bills.  Motion to approve the monthly expenditures as presented with the addition of N.W.B.E. invoice.  Motion carried.


Other Business for Discussion

Linda Zillmer had concerns of the division of Zoning and Zoning & Conservation committee meetings, and public notification. 


Motion by Johnson, second by Bassett to adjourn the meeting.  Motion carried.


Meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.




Kelly Nechuta, Recorder