Oneida County Lakes and River Association hopes the public comments on proposed changes in the county's shoreland zoning ordinance this week.
During the last budget cycle, the legislature stripped the counties of being able to regulate shoreland zoning beyond weaker state rules.
Association spokesperson Bob Martini says their board feels those rules are inadequate to protect the lakes and streams from unwise development and the resulting degradation of water quality. Martini says when counties could make their own regulations, Oneida county had the best ordinance in Wisconsin. But he says subsequent revisions, coupled with the new state standards, put county waters at risk.
Martini says they want the county to help educate shoreland owners....
"....we're advocating the county hire staff to do voluntary education work with landowners. Right now there aren't very many visits to a site that is doing major construction on a lake shore. We're advocating someone get out there before, during and after construction to ensure the landowner what the consequences are on lake quality...."
Martini says improper construction only diminishes the very thing most people come to the Northwoods to enjoy....
"...after all, they're protecting their own asset. Their asset depends on the quality of that water. We have a lot of studies that show that not only are the lakes our most important economic driver in this county, but we also have studies that show the value of those properties could drop 15-17 percent...."
The county is having three public hearings on the proposed changes. Tonight(2/27) a hearing is at the Woodruff town hall at 6 p.m., Wednesday(3/1) at 6:00 p.m. at the Three Lakes town board room, and Thursday(3/2) at 6:00 p.m. at the Oneida County Courthouse.