Public hearing to discuss statewide lake rules - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Public hearing to discuss statewide lake rules

MINOCQUA (WAOW) -- Dozens of people showed up to voice their opinions both for and against new rules for development near waterways across the state. The new rules, which are supposed to go into effect next February, would put a cap on how much property can be covered by impervious surfaces like driveways or roof tops, for buildings within 300 feet from the shoreline.

The new rules would also prohibit expanding homes closer to a shoreline, if it's less than 75 feet away from water, still allowing people to build vertically. Officials said that helps protect waterways and wildlife from polluted rain water running into lakes. But Joe Handrick said these standards are difficult to meet, for a community such as Minocqua.

"The biggest problem with NR115 is it doesn't seem to take into account existing development patterns, in a place like the Town of Minocqua where we have a business district that's almost entirely surrounded by water," said Joe Handrick.

He said the rules aren't fair, because they only apply to unincorporated areas in Wisconsin.

"If this rule is really important to protect water quality, why would we exempt the City of Milwaukee, and the City of Madison, and the City of Wausau, and the City of Stevens Point, but yet, and then only apply it to the townships. That's not fair and it needs to change," said Handrick.

But Prentice Resident Sue Drum, said she thinks the rules are a good move.

"Any storm water running off a roof or a driveway, or any hard surface that doesn't absorb, will wash directly into the lake, and you need something to purify this water," said Sue Drum.

Senator Jim Holperin said the rules are not perfect, and there are other options to consider.

"I myself have introduced legislation to exempt communities like Minocqua from the rule. So the testimony reaffirms that this is a controversial rule," said Sen. Holperin.

Senator Holperin told Newsline 9 it's likely these rules will be suspended, and possibly modified.

 

Online Reporter: Courtney Fasano

 

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