On October 5th, the Burnett County Land Use & Info committee (LUIC) voted unanimously in support of updated rules for campgrounds and RV Parks in Burnett County.
The new rules would:
The proposal from the LUIC now goes to the full county board for approval later this month (Thursday, October 21st).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BURNETT COUNTY LAND USE & INFORMATION COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS UPDATED RULES FOR CAMPGROUNDS AND RV PARKS
SIREN, WI – By a 6-0 vote at their October 5th meeting, the Burnett County Land Use and Information Committee passed a series of updated rules designed to reduce conflicts over future campground projects. The committee had spent nearly six months researching the issue and hearing testimony from a wide variety of stakeholders, experts and concerned citizens. This followed a succession of contentious committee meetings where the committee faced objections from hundreds of citizens opposed to these high-density developments in both residential areas and rural neighborhoods.
Preserve Burnett County, a citizen group formed to bring more focus to the issues high-density campgrounds pose, applauded the committee’s action. “Over 1,600 county residents and property owners voiced their concerns about the rampant growth of high-density campgrounds here over the last few years,” said Patrick Hansen, a spokesperson for the group. “Local citizens made it clear that they want uniform, sensible standards in siting, size and density of these so-called ‘campgrounds’, which are primarily RV and Park Model lots, with large patios, decks, and sheds. Once these ‘camping units’ are installed, they never move.”
600+ PBC supporters sent 5,000+ letters and emails to county supervisors asking for caps on numbers of campsites in a campground, an end to campgrounds in residential areas and a 14-day limit on length of stay for “temporary camping”. In the end, the committee voted to establish a new zoning district that will be directed at current and potential campground owners, with a minimum parcel size of 10 acres. They also voted to prohibit campgrounds in residential areas and to limit campsites to 25 units for “temporary camping” on agricultural and forest land. Campsites would be capped at 100 in the new zoning district. The new zoning district restores local control over County land use decisions, giving Supervisors discretion that was otherwise taken away under Wisconsin Act 67. As Vice-Chair Conroy said at the Tuesday hearing, "it will take the 900-pound gorilla off our backs."
“We didn’t get everything we’d hoped for,” said Hansen. At the same time, he lauded the committee members for their willingness to hear citizen concerns and input. “We thank the full committee, especially Chairman Bickford and the three members of the Campground Work Group – Supervisors Conroy, Paden, and Awe – for their hard work, their accessibility and their willingness to listen to all points of view.”
While acknowledging that the group didn’t get all their wishes, Hansen said he thinks the process of siting campgrounds in the county will be more orderly with an eye to preserving the unique qualities of our area that draw full-time residents and summer visitors in the first place. “Preserving the rural character of our county and protecting our waterways and open spaces from over-development has always been our primary aim. These changes are a step in that direction. We’re happy with the outcome, but also staying vigilant to see how any new rules play out.”
The changes are not a done deal. The full county board will hear the committee’s report and vote on the measures at their regular monthly meeting on October 21st.