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.