Silver Lake (Washington Co.) access site
Silver Lake to get boat launch County circumvents town's permit denial
By DON BEHM email@example.com
Posted: Aug. 12, 2004
West Bend - A Neenah construction company next month will begin building the first public boat launch on 118-acre Silver Lake in the Town of West Bend, county officials said.
Washington County has awarded Phenco Inc. a $359,552 contract to demolish a small shoreline cottage at 5607 Peters Drive, build a dock and boat ramp on the site, and construct a parking lot for seven boat trailers at a nearby property, Purchasing Agent Bill Kurer said.
Phenco's contract also includes dredging muck from the shallow bay to create a 50-foot-wide channel extending more than 100 feet from the ramp into the lake.
The contract was awarded after the County Board agreed this week to rezone the property as parkland, said Paul Mueller, planning and parks department administrator.
The park district created by the board also encompasses a separate 8.5-acre parcel at 5630 Peters Drive where the parking lot and a restroom building will be built.
Though the lots are zoned as parkland, the properties are too small to be used for traditional recreational activities and the county will not provide children's play equipment or a picnic area, Mueller said.
"The size and terrain are not suitable for a park," Mueller said, referring to a steep hillside at the rear of the 5630 Peters Drive property.
"This is intended to be a lake access only," Mueller said.
A spring 2005 opening of the public access is planned.
The county in May awarded a $108,455 contract to Ray Stadler Construction Co. Inc. of Wauwatosa for construction of the restrooms, Kurer said. Stadler Construction also will demolish a former residence at 5630 Peters Drive under a separate $4,500 contract.
Silver Lake is the largest body of water in Washington County without public access. A total of $663,314 in state grants will pay all costs of developing the site, to be known as the Henschke Hillside Lake Access.
Both Peters Drive properties were formerly owned by Roland and Patricia Henschke.
Work on the public access was delayed earlier this year after the West Bend Town Board in June rejected the county's request for a permit to build the boat launch.
Washington County sued the town in early July, claiming town officials improperly denied the permit. That lawsuit is pending, but county officials will now review the need for the legal challenge, County Attorney Kim Nass said.
"The park district ordinance allows the county to move forward with the project in the absence of a town zoning permit," Mueller said.
West Bend Town Chairman Robert Seebach could not be reached to comment on the county's zoning change. Town Supervisor Joseph Spaeth declined to comment.
I'm suprised more people haven't chimed in on this subject, i think its because most people still aren't aware of what is actually going on.
Officials seek to avoid legal action over boat launch denial in Town of West Bend
By DON BEHM
Posted: June 21, 2004
West Bend - Washington County will consider rezoning a county-owned lot on Silver Lake as parkland so it can proceed with plans to build a public boat launch on the property, officials said Monday.
Rezoning the narrow lot at 5607 Peters Drive will be discussed Wednesday, as an alternative to going to court to overturn the Town of West Bend's June 3 denial of a permit to build a public access on the property, County Attorney Kim Nass said.
State law authorizes counties to zone and rezone county-owned properties without the approval of a town board, Nass said. She plans to discuss rezoning and a lawsuit Wednesday at a meeting of the county Planning, Conservation and Parks Committee.
County Board Chairman Ken Miller said rezoning is preferable to a costly legal challenge.
"We're not in the habit of suing other municipalities," Miller said.
Should the full board approve the rezoning proposal next month, there would be no need for the county to seek a town permit for the public access, he said.
According to Nass, however, the county would be required to schedule a public hearing on the rezoning.
Nass is to ask the committee to recommend one option for the board to consider at its July 13 meeting.
Miller also plans to inform the committee Wednesday that county use of a Silver Lake Yacht Club boat ramp on Peters Drive as a public access is not possible.
The private club has an agreement with Silver Lake Country Inn that prohibits use of the ramp after 4 p.m. on days the restaurant is open, Miller said in explaining why he will not recommend buying an easement, or lease, to the club property. Restaurant customers are able to park adjacent to club property on Peters Drive after 4 p.m.
Miller met last week with club President Joseph Loiacono to discuss a lease.
County acquisition of the club's property, too, is out of the question because club officials and a majority of members oppose a sale, Miller and Loiacono said.
The club supports public access at the county-owned property, Loiacono said.
Paul Rice, a club member and West Bend town supervisor, disagreed with Loiacono. Rice said he believes a club majority favors county use of the private ramp.
The county-owned shoreline lot is not suitable for a public launch because it is too close to residential neighbors, Rice said in explaining why he voted against the county's request for a permit to build the access there.
"That would trample the rights of property owners on either side" of the lot, Rice said.
Here is the latest letter than has been sent out regarding the proposed public access site on Silver Lake in Washington County.
Dear Concerned Citizen:
The Washington County Planning and Parks Department has completed final engineering plans for the public access site on Silver Lake (Henschke Hillside Lake Access). Before construction begins on this public access site, the County is requesting a conditional use permit from the Town of West Bend.
The Town is holding a public hearing to solicit comments on the proposed development project. If you are interested in attending, meeting details are listed below.
Town of West Bend Plan Commission - Public Hearing Conditional Use Permit for Washington County re: Henschke Hillside Lake Access Thursday March 25th, 7:45 p.m. Town of West Bend Town Hall - 6355 Highway Z, West Bend, WI 53095
Please feel free to contact me at (414) 263-8670 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
David Dahms Public Waterway Access Coordinator
Public access to Silver Lake will be open for business this season
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- By DAVE RANK - Daily News Staff March 15, 2003 A snowmobiler travels across Little Cedar Lake this week. This year in the town of West Bend?s Tri-Lakes region Silver Lake will open for public access as well.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TOWN OF WEST BEND - Forget the late season snow and ice for now. Think spring.
It won?t be long before the ice clears and the county?s public boat launches again provide access to both Big and Little Cedar lakes in the town.
And later this year, public access to the smallest partner in the town?s Tri-Lakes region, Silver Lake, opens for business.
On Big Cedar Lake, last year?s $90,000 in improvements to the Gonring Drive boat launch has doubled the size of the ramp and added piers and other amenities.
The double launch area has helped alleviate congestion on Gonring Drive, said Robert Schulteis, operations manager for the Big Cedar Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District, which operates the launch.
"It?s much faster," he said. "You didn?t see people last year lined up to use the ramp like you did other years. It?s sped up the process."
Big Cedar Lake is about 1,000 acres in size. The Gonring Drive launch has parking space for 36 vehicles in two nearby lots. A small boat launch farther south on the lake is located on Cedar Park Drive. Three parking spaces are located there.
The 73-acre Ackerman?s Grove County Park opened with its public boat launch on Little Cedar Lake in 2001 and residents there have expressed satisfaction with the results.
"It?s been working out very well," said Randy Weber, secretary of the Little Cedar Lake Protection and Rehabilitations District.
"Ours works just fine," said Bob Ramsthal, district chairman. "The county owns the land and does everything."
The park is located on Highway Z in the town of Polk. Little Cedar is 246 acres in size.
Washington County plans to construct a public boat launch on Silver Lake this summer or fall. The 8.3-acre Henschke Hillside Lake Access is located on Peters Drive on the west side of the lake.
Over the three years the county has worked on the project, many Silver Lake residents have expressed concerns over the proposed public access because of the potential for increases in noise, traffic, parking, lighting, as well as over dredging for the boat launch and various site design details. Peters Drive is a narrow, nonconforming residential town road.
Most recently, representatives of the Silver Lake Protective Association Inc., a private, nongovernmental organization of property owners on the lake, are complaining that studies to determine the environmental impact of the site?s dredging are inadequate and toxic materials in the sediment, once disturbed, possibly could contaminate local wells.
"I?m afraid they?ll pollute my well," said Paul Rice, a town supervisor and member of the Silver Lake Protective Association. "It?s just disturbing they?ve been ramrodding it through," he said of the state and county.
"It?s going to cost $2 million to have a fishing hole for seven guys," Rice said, referring to plans to have seven parking spaces in the Henschke Hillside Lake Access.
Officially, the cost of the project is set at $670,000, paid for by federal and state grants through the state?s Department of Natural Resources, which has encouraged the county to go ahead with the project.
The 135-acre Silver Lake is the largest lake in Washington County without public access and the DNR has for years received calls to open the lake to the public.
The county obtained its lake access property from the late Roland Henschke and his family in 1999. Henschke donated about a quarter-acre and the county purchased the rest of the site from the family for $450,000.
Grant money was also used to reimburse the county for the purchase.
Rice said it is unfortunate the county could not have worked out an agreement with the Silver Lake Yacht Club to take over that launch site instead. On at least two occasions, the county tried to discuss acquiring the Yacht Club and was turned down by club officials.
"It?s a horrible location for a boat launch," Rice said of the Henschke site. "It?s five doors down from one that?s existed for a 100 years which already has deep water access without dredging (the yacht club)."
Rice said, "It?s very sad. It?s just not a good situation."
The Henschke property is located on the northeast bay of the lake on Peters Drive, south of West Paradise Drive. There are about 210 residents who live around the lake, which for at least the past 30 years has had a shoreline entirely in private hands.
Improvements to the site will include parking for seven vehicle-trailer units, three car-only spaces and access for people with disabilities while preserving existing wetlands. A planned stormwater retention pond on the site should also help alleviate a chronic flooding problem on Peters Drive, county officials said.
Development of the site also will include removing two existing homes, two storage sheds and a garage, dredging, installing a boat ramp, an accessible boarding dock and restroom facilities.
TOWN OF WEST BEND - A $5 boat launch fee likely will go into effect at Big Cedar Lake this June. At Thursday night?s meeting of the Big Cedar Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District commissioners, Chair-man Roger Walsh outlined the procedure to implement an honor fee collection system similar to the one used on Little Cedar Lake by the county at its Ackerman?s Grove County Park launch ramp.
Currently, no fee is required to launch a boat from either of the two public ramps onto Big Cedar Lake.
Residents voiced support for the concept at the districts annual meeting in August.
The Big Cedar Lake district operates the Gonring Drive public boat launch and state statutes allow the district to charge "reasonable fees to offset the costs of maintenance," Walsh said.
The fee also will be installed at the smaller Cedar Park Drive public boat launch ramp off of Boettcher Drive, Walsh said.
A yearly launch pass option for frequent lake visitors also will be considered, he said.
An attorney, Walsh said he is preparing a proposed ordinance to authorize the boat launch fee that will be reviewed by his fellow commissioners and the state?s Department of Natural Re-sources.
A public hearing on the proposal will be held at the commission?s May meeting with the ordinance "up for adoption at the June meeting," he said.
The district must provide insurance for the boat launch and provides the manpower to move and repair the piers, Walsh said.
With the fee, he said, "we?re trying to build up a reserve" to help cover those expenses.
Last year, the district upgraded the Gonring Drive launch, doubling its size and adding other amenities. State grants totaling more than $90,000 paid for those improvements.
The pier already exists, it consists of telephone poles which they will need to remove to put launch in. Yes, bass currently do spawn underneath the pier. Once it is removed and made deeper???
Purple loosestrife already is present and there has been talk of removal.
The 100+ homes on the lake producing runoff is agreeable, but where does this make Silver any different than any other lake? Eleven years ago Silver Lake property owners realized this problem and installed a sewer system. Original thought was to have Big Cedar and Little Cedar join the project to spread costs. Both lakes rejected the proposal and Silver installed the system (using smaller piping). How do they feel about their decision now???