Plan and Review Meeting 12/4/2019

Sunset on Big Spider Lake, December 4, 2019

I attended the Plan and Review Committee and Open Hearing Meeting on Wednesday evening. The two items on the agenda were a proposed change to the camping/RV ordinance and the addition of a new ordinance addressing large special events.

It was great to see such a large turnout. The meeting was started with reading the many emails received by the committee. Then residents were allowed to speak. It was wonderful to see everyone having a chance to express their opinions. I applaud the Plan and Review Committee for all their work and their fair handling of the issues.

The camping ordinance was changed to allow for larger tents and extend the amount of time per year tents are allowed on our properties. It seemed like a good compromise. This will be presented to the Town Board at the December 11, 2019 meeting.

I had an issue with several items in an email sent that made two very false statements. The property owner stated that a property located in an area with no restrictive ordinances had more value than a property located in an area with restrictive ordinances. This is completely untrue. I worked as a Realtor for over 25 years. During that time I sold homes in neighborhoods and rural areas with no restrictive covenants or ordinances, most had them in the past but they expired and were never renewed. I also sold many homes in neighborhoods and rural areas where there were covenants and ordinances that were kept in place and were enforced.

The homes in areas with no restrictive ordinances or covenants sold for less. Driving through them you would see discarded equipment, RVs, boats, covered snowmobiles on trailers, garbage cans visible from the street and every kind of fencing known to man.

The areas with enforced covenants and ordinances would sell for substantially more. The neighborhoods and rural areas were neat, uncluttered and visually much more appealing to buyers. The homes I’m comparing are of like age, style and square footage. I’m sure any Realtor can give you examples of this in the areas they work throughout Wisconsin.

The second statement that I found in my experience to be untrue is that there is a group of people in our town who want to keep people out. We have owned our property here in Spider Lake since 1985. What we have found are people of all socioeconomic status that have been welcoming, helpful and all-around good people.

My husband and I have become involved in our lake association. A group of people who spend an enormous amount of their time and resources to keep our lake free of invasive species and work to educate the property owners about best practices for shoreline restorations and care. I am constantly amazed at their devotion to keeping the area and its lakes something where people want to live and vacation.

The author of the email also referenced the group, Friends of Spider Lake, as a group trying to keep people out of the area. I am familiar with the group and have received emails and mailings from them. What I see is a group that is working to provide information on issues to all the property owners.

Property rights seemed to be an issue and I would ask, when do one person’s rights supersede mine? When we purchased our property we were fully aware of the zoning in Town of Spider Lake. It was part of the reason we purchased it here. We looked at many properties in and around the Hayward area. What we saw on many of the other lakes were properties with sheds, RVs parked near the shore, falling down boathouses, and crowded shorelines. Not at all attractive to us.

Here we found required 200-foot frontages, RVs restricted to areas not visible from the lake, limited time for water and jet skiing on the lake, zoning that prevented the over-development of the properties which in turn protected the quality of the lakes and the values of the properties.

So another question I would ask. Why did you purchase a property in the Town of Spider Lake? Were you not aware of the zoning? As I stated before we looked at properties on other lakes and in other towns. What we saw we didn’t like. But when we spent the day in Spider Lake and drove the roads and went out on the Spider Chain of Lakes we knew we had found what we were looking for. The quiet roads, the uncrowded and unspoiled shorelines. We’ve never regretted the day we bought here. I wouldn’t trade it for any other town or lake.

The Comprehensive Plan put into place in 1967 has served this town well. It has protected the quality of the lakes and the values of our properties. It has created a town that is mentioned in publications as “One of the two jewels of Northern Wisconsin.” The other is La Pointe on Madeline Island. Their ordinances are likewise as restrictive as the Town of Spider Lake.

Just my thoughts. Feel free to disagree.

2 Comments on “Plan and Review Meeting 12/4/2019

  1. You are a breath of fresh air! I have owned a log ‘cabin’ on Ole Lake for 50 years. We had a family gathering in July to celebrate the occasion. Recent events concern me a great deal. I fear for our town’s future and would like to be included in any way to support you to become a supervisor. You mentioned the the Comprehensive Plan. With others, I was involved with developing the original plan which has since been revised in 2018. It is a wonderful document and it seems to be ignored by current town officials. .I doubt if many have ever seen it. I plan to b ring mine to a town meeting to make people aware of it. Please keep me in you loop!!

    • Thank you Carol. Wow, 50 years and counting. You have reminded me that there are many families in Town of Spider Lake who have been making memories here for years.

      I would love having your support as I run for town supervisor. Even more so I want to sit down and talk with you about the Comprehensive Plan that you were part of developing. It is a fantastic well thought out plan that like you say, many are not aware of and is now in danger of being changed.

      You might find this interesting. I have a friend in the Madison, WI area who’s husband, Norm Anderson, was the co-author of a published paper about zoning protections. He was the person who set me on the quest of finding the publication which refers to the “Jewels of Northern Wisconsin.” There are two, Town of Spider Lake and Town of La Pointe. We are the only two townships that have been fortunate to have people like you who put protections in place that has preserved the beauty and quality of life we all enjoy here.

      Let’s get together soon. Your input would be extremely valuable.

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