Town of Clover Plan Commission
March 7, 7 pm
Call to Order: 7 pm
Roll Call: James Stemwedel, Beverly Steele, Chris Lehnert (vice-chair), Keith Koenning (chair); Pete Berton (absent)
Audience Attendance: Mark Filonowich
- The 2023-2043 Comprehensive Plan Committee’s second public meeting on plan elements was held on February 28 at the Gym. Eighteen persons attended in person and three virtually. The meeting summary is posted on herbsterwisconsin.com.
- Report on Coastal Management Program grant. Because the volunteers of Erik Felt’s ad hoc Comprehensive Plan Committee have logged hours of work far in excess of the original estimate the chair asked Coastal Management to consider amending the grant application by replacing the $5,100 Town contribution with volunteer hours. On February 28th Coastal Management acted favorably on the request and increased their cash funding by $5,100 to $14,036 and thus eliminating the cash contribution from the Town. The total project budget including the volunteer hours match is $30,913 (45% Coastal Management cash, and 55% Clover volunteer match).
- Class A Special Use Permit for grading more than 200 square feet within 1,000 feet of Lake Superior for shoreline protection (riprap) at 89715 Bark Point Rd in R-RB by John and Amy Tillotson, Rocky Tribovich, authorized agent.
The chair contacted Mr. Tribovich who advised he discussed this project with the DNR and it meets the exemption checklist requirements.
Consensus recommendation to the Town Board: This permit is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. The Plan does not make specific reference to riprap but generally encourages single family housing and protection of the lakeshore. The authorized agent shall comply with all DNR rules and regulations.
- Class A Special Use Permit for one short-term rental in R-RB at 89340 Bark Point Rd by Jeremy and Sara Downs.
Mr. Filonwich provided a written statement: Short Term Rentals (STRs) are hurting our community in many ways, but the most frustrating is attracting people who have no investment in the community and therefore are presenting themselves as disruptive to the tranquility of the area. Trespassing on neighboring properties, littering our roads, and violating noise and occupancy rules are just a few examples. Calling the county sheriff is generally ineffective since most law enforcement squads are located 30-60 minutes away and unable to respond in a timely fashion.
Another frequently cited problem with STRs (and I see it first hand) is the lack of awareness of local codes, zoning laws, and building permits. Out of state investors are purchasing land, building homes, and renting them out without trying to obtain the proper permits. The few who do their due diligence often discover that we simply do not have the infrastructure to inspect or enforce the most basic (common sense) lodging, building, taxing, or zoning codes. When local property managers put profits in front of the people of the community, the situation is exacerbated.
Finally, our community already suffers from a lack of affordable housing. When the market forces make STR an attractive choice (just a few weeks of rental income can pay a year’s worth of tax and maintenance costs), we inadvertently create a situation where our local bars and restaurants (and other service establishments) cannot find local workers. It’s unrealistic to expect someone to drive 30 minutes to a low wage job, and yet it’s equally unrealistic to attract visitors to an area where we cannot offer adequate hospitality.
It has been (and remains) my position that STRs are causing a fundamental and probably irreversible shift from the naturally beautiful and peaceful environment of this community toward an economic “land grab” that benefits very few at the expense of all. It is a genie that cannot be put back in the bottle and (at the very least) needs to be managed with all stakeholder’s needs being recognized and addressed. I believe Walker’s Right To Rent law was a bad piece of legislation which needs to be challenged in court, and I believe greater control needs to be given to the local community leaders to preserve their irreplaceable resources.
The Chair and members discussed and thanked Mr. Filonwich for his comments. It is valuable for the TPC to hear from community members on both sides of issues. While at present State law does not allow for restricting the number of STR’s, if in the future the law changes, community opinion and factual data will be important. The chair further noted that the Town has in place a STR licensing ordinance requiring an annual renewal and that said license can be denied if a STR is a nuisance or has violated the conditions of the license.
Ms. Steele advised that towns are becoming more intentional in making concerns about STRs know to legislators by being present at meetings where legislators are present.
Consensus recommendation to the Town Board. This permit is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan’s support of recreational housing and tourism. Conditions: 1) This permit is not transferable if the property is sold. 2) Prior to advertising and rental, the property owner must have a Wisconsin Tourist Rooming House License issued by the Bayfield County Health Department, and a Town of Clover annual short-term rental license. 3) Before receiving a Town license the owner must have a Town of Clover driveway permit and be in compliance with the driveway ordinance specifications.
- Class A Special Use Permit to place one shipping container in R-RB at 16855 Hwy 13 by Matthew A. Anderson.
Consensus recommendation to the Town Board: Approval with the suggestion that the applicant consider Goal 7 of the Comprehensive Plan, “Maintain the scenic and aesthetic beauty of the Town of Clover,” includes objectives to preserve the rural appearance of our roads, when placing the container.
Future Business: The chair brought to the attention of the attendees a recent information only inquiry he received by referral from the County Planning and Zoning Department. The subject of the inquiry being the location of a RV campground on land zoned other than F-1, R-RB, or M (these are the only zoning districts in which a campground is permitted by conditional use). The chair pointed out that the current Future Land Use Map approved by the Town by ordinance in 2003 shows the land in question as being agricultural and that rezoning applications for zoning contrary to the Future Land Use Map are unlikely to be approved. A change in the Future Land Use Map must first be approved by the TPC and then an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan would need to be put in place by Town Board ordinance after a 30 day noticed hearing. The chair noted this example as an indicator of the value of the Future Land Use Map, and that a new Future Land Use Map will be included in the now underway 2023-2043 Clover Comprehensive Plan. The chair invited the inquirer to become involved in the new Plan and Map development process. The chair did not disclose any details about the person making the inquiry or the location of the land in question.
Adjournment: 7:40 pm
Minutes prepared on March 8, 2023 by the Plan Commission Chair, Keith Koenning, and questions may be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-774-3475.
Minutes are posted on the Town’s website, herbsterwisconsin.com.