Friday, July 26, 2013

Sen. Tom Tiffany's E-Update

July 25th, 2013

NR 115 Changes

There will be public hearings in August to discuss changes to statewide shoreland zoning standards, which fall under Natural Resource rule 115 (NR 115).  Changes were made to NR 115 in 2010, and they look to be revised further.  County zoning departments should be aware as they prepare to align with these new changes.  In fact, we would encourage them to hold off on altering their standards until the newest changes go into effect.
There are three ways for people to weigh in on the proposed changes – testify at public hearings, file comments electronically, or provide them by mail.

Public hearings are set in five communities in August, with all hearings starting at 2 p.m. with a brief presentation and lasting until 6 p.m.
• Aug. 7, Greenville – Greenville Town Office, W6860 Parkview Dr.
• Aug. 8, Delafield – City Hall, 500 Genesee Street

• Aug. 14, Tomah – Best Western Tomah Hotel, 1017 E McCoy Blvd.
• Aug. 15, Spooner – Spooner High School, 801 County Road A.
• Aug. 22, Tomahawk – Rodeway Inn & Suites, 1738 Comfort Dr.

Specifically, the changes propose greater flexibility for properties along developed shorelines. Under the current rules, properties within 300 feet of any lake, river, or stream face limits on the amount of roofs, pavement, and other hard or “impervious” surfaces. Under the DNR’s proposed changes, base limits on impervious services would remain at 15 percent in most places statewide, but could be up to 40 percent for residences, and up to 60 percent for commercial, industrial, or business land, within those urbanized areas where the shoreline is highly developed.

Property owners can seek a permit for projects that would add impervious surfaces to their land, or seek a variance. The proposed changes would raise the levels at which such permits or variances are required in urbanized areas and allow more flexibility for properties where the impervious surfaces are draining away from the lake or to a storm-water system designed to treat the runoff.

The proposed changes also allow for more expansion of homes built before the late 1960s, when the statewide minimum shoreland standards were originally set and established that structures needed to be set back 75 feet from the water’s edge.

Under the proposed changes, property owners of existing structures closer to the water than the longtime state standards, would be allowed to expand their structures beyond the 75 foot setback in any direction. The current rule limits people to expanding vertically in the same footprint.

People may also send comments on proposed permanent natural resources rules over the internet at the DNR website. Written comments can be sent by mail to Bureau of Watershed Management P.O. Box 7921 Madison, WI 53707 or by email to

DNR Secretary Stepp to Discuss Budget for Hatcheries

Tomorrow, Friday, July 26th at 1:30 p.m., Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp will discusse the walleye initiative and other infrastructure improvements to state fish hatcheries. Secretary Stepp will then take a walking tour of the hatchery.  This will take place at the Art Oehmcke Fish Hatchery in Woodruff (8770 Highway J, Woodruff, WI--two miles east of US 51) and it is open to the public. 

Rest Lake Dam Meeting Postponed

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is postponing public information hearings on a new operating order for the Rest Lake Dam in Vilas County while staff evaluate possible implications of a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling on a separate water level order.  In light of last week’s Wisconsin Supreme Court decision on the Lake Koshkonong water level case,  the DNR needs to evaluate how that decision will affect other water level orders around the state.

The Rest Lake Dam hearings were originally scheduled for August 9th and 10th, in Manitowish Waters and a draft operating order was scheduled to be released today. However, in light of the recent Supreme Court decision, a draft order will not be released until the after the Department can fully consider the court’s decision. New dates for Rest Lake informational hearings have not been set at this time.

The Department of Natural Resources is charged with the duty to establish water levels and flows that protect public interests in waters of the state, promote safety, and protect life, health, and property. After the Department has the opportunity to evaluate how the Supreme Court decision will affect issuing dam safety operating orders, a new set of dates will be scheduled for the Rest Lake Dam public information hearings.

If you have questions about the status of the Rest Lake operating order, you can contact John Spangberg at 715-685-0431 or by email at Updates on the project will be posted to the DNR’s Rest Lake web page People can subscribe to receive Rest Lake updates by email from the “Subscribe to Rest Lake updates” link in the upper right corner of the web page.


Power Lines in the Northwoods

I wanted to pass along that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a plan last week that will involve burying distribution lines underground along hundreds of miles of power lines in order to reduce storm-related power outages in some of the most rural and forested parts of the state.
The project targets pockets of Northwoods counties that have experienced power reliability problems, including portions of Florence, Marinette, Forest, Oneida, Langlade and Vilas counties. The plan calls for the Wisconsin Public Service Corp. to convert more than 1,000 miles of overhead electric distribution lines to underground, and install distribution automation equipment on an additional 400 miles of line.  The areas targeted can be found here.

Weekend District Events

The heat wave broke, but it looks like we will be getting some rain over the weekend.  There is still plenty to do around the district, rain or shine!
Langlade County Fair
Date: July 24th-28th
Time: Varies--see schedule
Location: Langlade County Fairground (1633 Neva Road, Antigo)
Cost: Free
Lac du Flambeau Brewfest
Date: Saturday, July 27th
Time: 1-5 p.m.
Location: Torpy Park (Minocqua)
Cost: $25 in advance (sold at Trig's and the Minocqua Area Chamber)/$30 at the gate
Brewfest is an annual fundraiser for the Lac du Flambeau Lions Club
Crandon Kentuck Day Festival and Kentuck Klassic Car Show
Date: Saturday, July 27th
Time: 10-4 (Festival) and 9-3 (Car Show)
Location: County Courthouse Square
Cost: Free
Land O' Lakes Art Impressions Art Show
Date: Saturday, July 27th
Time: 9-3
Location: Land O' Lakes Town Hall (4331 County Road B, Land O' Lakes)
Cost: Free
St. Germain Joe Bucher Blues Fest
Date: Saturday, July 27th
Time: 3-11 p.m.
Location: St. Germain Pavilion (Hwy. 70, St. Germain, WI)
Cost: Adults: $13 in advance (sold at Trig's and WRJO Radio Station)/ $15 at the door
Kids (16 and under): $10
Conover Annual Auto Show and Craft Market
Date: Sunday, July 28th
Time: 9-3
Location:  Conover Town Park

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