City Council wants state Division of Forestry office to move to Rhinelander; Permits for chickens, cell tower also approved
By KEVIN BONESKE
With the 2015-17 state budget calling for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to develop a proposal to move its Division of Forestry headquarters north of U.S. Hwy. 10, the Rhinelander City Council passed a resolution Monday night to respond to a DNR “Request for Information” in favor of having the office locate in the city.
“This would send a message to those making the decision that Rhinelander is a viable and an ideal place for this to occur,” said city administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner.
City attorney Carrie Miljevich, who drafted the resolution, said municipalities have until May 26 to contact the DNR about their interest to have the Division of Forestry office relocate.
Miljevich said the RFI, most importantly, seeks to find out how a municipality would be suitable for relocating the headquarters, for which a proposal would be part of the DNR’s 2017-19 biennial budget request.
Alderman Alex Young said Rhinelander would be “a very strong candidate for that headquarters.”
“I think we’re fairly centrally located in terms of forestry resources in the northwoods,” Young said.
In other action, council members approved issuing a permit to Scott Kirby to keep chickens in the city at 15 S. Pelham St. Alderman Tom Gleason cast the only dissenting vote.
Though no one from the general public spoke on the matter when it was up for discussion Monday night, Rhinelander Historical Society president June Thiel had submitted a letter in opposition, calling it “an attractive nuisance at best.”
Thiel raise concerns about the possible smell and health issues related to issuing a chicken permit, for which an adjacent property owner, Gary Driscoll, wrote a letter stating he had no objections to keeping chickens next door in accordance with the site plan.
According to the related city ordinance enacted in 2013, a permit issued annually is required to keep chickens in Rhinelander. The ordinance provisions include allowing up to four chickens with a permit on a single- or two-family residential premise, though roosters are not allowed.
Council members also approved issuing a conditional use permit to SBA Communications/Verizon for the construction of a 100-foot cellular “monopole” tower with a 5-foot lightning rod to be located behind Hobby Lobby along Lincoln Street.