Town of Spider Lake
Plan and Review Commission Meeting Minutes
January 4, 2017
The Plan and Review Commission meeting was called to order by Chairman Hucker at approximately 6:00 p.m. with Brandt, Cerman, Mazik, and Hucker present along with Zoning Administrator Boss. Ross was absent.
Pledge of Allegiance
Motion made by Mazik and seconded by Cerman to approve the 12-7-16 Meeting minutes. MC 4-0
Zoning Administrator Report
Monthly permits were identified and a list was distributed. A sign violation by Lost Land Lake Lodge has not been corrected as of the date of the meeting (off premises, too close to the OHWM and too large). Cerman indicated that he was contacted about the violation. After discussion it was suggested that such calls be directed to the Zoning Administrator. Brandt also noted that there is a flashing sign there which is a violation of the ordinance.
Boss also provided an annual report. Overall the volume of permits issued continues to trend downward. Boss noted that large home development throughout the county was down in 2016. Mazik noted a typo on the first page which was corrected.
Boss reported that the violation at 11120W Shore Acres, a nonconforming deck had been replaced and covered and walled, had not been corrected. He will review the matter with the town’s attorney and proceed with court action if necessary.
Tourist Rooming Houses, Proposed Changes to the Sawyer County Zoning Ordinance and Town Consideration of Short Term Rentals
Hucker distributed a draft of suggestions for changes to the town’s ordinance received from the town’s attorney. He noted that the county tabled action on its draft ordinance.
As noted before, the issue is whether the town prohibits short term rentals (“STRs”) altogether. If not where will it be allowed and, if allowed, will it be regulated. Previously, Hucker distributed to the members of the commission samples from other counties.
The sample distributed at this meeting will limit any new short term rentals to RR-2 and the Commercial zoning districts. In those districts a conditional use permit would be required. In addition Washburn or Bayfield also came up with a process for registration of a non-confirming uses.
The town could decide that it will ban STRs altogether, but it could be costly to defend the decision if someone challenges the decision. The draft was structured to allow for grandfathering of only those who can show they were legally operating as a STR. Persons would submit information to the zoning administrator to support their request for grandfathering and the request would be reviewed by the Plan Commission and approved or denied. A list would be maintained.
It again was noted that arguments can be made as to whether STRs were ever permitted under the ordinance. The reason to go with the grandfathering proposal is to reduce the risk of possible litigation.
As to regulating STRs, Hucker indicated that there is concern whether the town has the resources to do so—especially in view of the fact that the state already is supposed to be doing inspections of STRs. Bayfield County regulates, but they have a health department. The town does not. DHS should be inspecting STRs now.
Mazik shifted discussion to how many STRs are in the town. No information has been collected at this point. County estimated there are a few hundred in the entire county.
Deadlines for registration and fee amounts would have to be decided. Brandt made the suggestion that sales tax records and tax returns be included in the information for grandfathering. Grandfathering fee application was proposed to be $75. The application form and content is outlined in the draft. If there are additions, they can be added.
A question was raised as to whether the town can obtain a list from the department of public health of license holders? It was noted that the list is not preclusive. Definitions were also discussed. It is unclear what definitions the county will use. A question was raised as to whether trading use of dwellings would also be covered. It and time shares could also be considered.
Work on Possible Text Amendments to 15.4 Agricultural One District
Boss distributed a draft with the materials the commission discussed last year along with some definitions. It was suggested that members review the materials and provide comments, if any, at the next meeting.
Boss asked if we will keep the “animal unit” term. He has researched and found other counties that limited hobby farms to a minimum of 10 acres. Boss also looked to the animal control officer for guidance when issues have come up in the past. He will try to get some further definition from the animal control officer.
Boss asked if the town will pursue “farm stays”. He has a definition for it. Would a farm stay, if allowed, be by conditional use? This could be interpreted as another form of short term rental. Boss will work on the draft a little more before the next meeting.
A question was raised about limitations on game farms and not allowing “farm stays” at all. The commission will consider moving it to conditional use rather than permitted use. The section referring to “and recreational areas” may be deleted from B 2 and farm stays would be added as B 9.
Any Other Business for Discussion
Motion to adjourn made by Brandt and seconded by Mazik MC 4-0