Committee debates revisions on boathouses
County code could limit boathouses to 720 square feet
BY KEVIN BONESKE
As Oneida County’s Planning and Development Committee continues to revise the county’s shoreland zoning protection ordinance in response to changes in state law, committee members continue to deal with the issue of boathouses.
Counties that currently have shoreland zoning ordinance standards that are more restrictive than established in the applicable state law and regulations can no longer enforce the stricter standards. Counties, which are not allowed to outright prohibit boathouses, have the discretion as to whether to allow them to be built with flat roofs.
Revisions the committee had forwarded about boathouses to the full County Board, which approved the changes last June, are now in the process of being revised again.
The County Board initially favored allowing boathouses to be built with a maximum footprint of 1,008 square feet, but in response to concerns expressed at last November’s County Board meeting about the size of boathouses and their possible effects on the environment, wording the committee favored Wednesday includes limiting boathouses to 720 square feet.
Flat roofs would continue to be allowed for boathouses, though the revised language backed by the committee calls for those types of boathouses to shed water away from the ordinary high water mark.
Planning and zoning department assistant director Pete Wegner said the language revisions that he included for the committee’s consideration related to boathouses in the shoreland protection ordinance were done in response to a letter from Kay Lutze, a shoreland policy coordinator with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Though a boathouse with a flat roof could still be used as deck, committee members debated suggested changes that included not allowing stairs placed on the exterior of a boathouse to gain access to a flat roof.
“It would make it very difficult to use the top of a boathouse as a deck,” committee member and County Board chairman Dave Hintz said of not allowing exterior stairs.
Committee chairman Scott Holewinski, who noted railings are allowed for a boathouse roof that is flat, also questioned why stairs shouldn’t be allowed.
Committee members agreed to strike suggested language prohibiting exterior stairs to access the flat roof of a boathouse and instead allow exterior stairs with a maximum width of four feet. They also discarded language that would have not allowed concrete aprons/boat launch pads in favor of allowing an apron that could be up to four feet.