The Oneida County Planning and Development Committee is nearing the end of the process of making corrections and changes to the Shoreland Protection Ordinance presented to the public last month.
Once the revisions are complete, the committee will hold another public hearing. A date for that hearing is expected to be determined at next week's committee meeting.
Among the changes the committee expects to bring before the public are the determination of zoning ordinances for the towns Enterprise, Monico and Sugar Camp.
"The way it is written, as of today and that's what's going to public hearing, is the general zoning provisions would only apply in the zoned towns," Oneida County zoning director Karl Jennrich said. "Then we're going to add language reguarding the two lakes (Sugar Camp and Indian)."
Committee chairman Scott Holewinski announced he has a meeting scheduled with State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) to discuss the issue.
Holewinski did some digging and managed to find some potentially key information.
"As we researched it, the legislation that changed things, created the problem we now have," Holewinski said. "In 1966, they passed [Wis. Stat.] 57.971, which said the county could enact general zoning, even if a town board didn't want it. But Act 55 changed that in 2015."
The issue remains open and the committee still needs clarification on the matter to proceed further.
As it stands, the committee does not have the approval of corporation counsel head Brian Desmond.
The issue remains as to whether or not Sugar Camp and Indian Lakes can be zoned, while the rest of the town is not.
"I just don't want to go to public hearing with different wording than what the committee supported," supervisor Billy Fried said.
Whether or not Desmond will deem the committee's language legal is going to be determined in the next couple meetings.
Desmond also sent a letter to Attorney General Brad Schimel asking for his advice on the matter.
The committee is also looking into changing the width of boathouses based on the size of the lake.
Currently, the ordinance states a new boathouse shall not exceed 14 feet on a lake 100 acres or less. For lakes of 100 acres or more, a boathouse shall not exceed 24 feet in width.
Based on the research of Dave Noel of Sugar Camp, there are not many lakes within the county between 100 and 500 acres, so Holewinski proposed changing the barometer for width based on 500 acres rather than 100.
The current allotted length of a boathouse is 30 feet, regardless of the size of the lake.
"I can't see somebody coming and saying 'I need a 24-foot boathouse,'" supervisor Mike Timmons said. "I'd support the 500 less or 500 more."
County board chairman Dave Hintz also supported the change.
Fried asked if the zoning ordinance would be implemented this summer, after a public hearing in the coming weeks.
"The timing is not the best to implement the new zoning ordinance, but I don't think I have a choice," Jennrich said. "The weight is on my back to get this thing put in."
Desmond also chimed in on the matter.
"The law is the law," Desmond said. "You're putting landowners somewhat in jeopardy if you're using an old ordinance."
Hintz was hoping to get the ordinance in front of the full county board by May, but Jennrich said it would be more likely to happen in June.
The committee is scheduled to meet again Wednesday.
Nick Sabato may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @SabatoNick.