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Dear Editor,

I want to share my experience regarding three rezones from the last 15 years, on 126-acre Little Trade Lake. As often happens, when large lake-shore owners sell their land, in comes an out-of-area developer who wants to build new homes every 100 feet. As lake residents, we want them at 300 feet intervals. We start a petition to be signed by lake-shore homeowners, then we go to County Zoning to express our concerns. The compromise for all three rezones has been 200 feet. What is going on? By State law the County budget can only be increased by new development. Where is the most development? Lake shore properties.  

 The problem is, that method of funding does not change. Please give our State tax dollars back to the counties like a Cost of Living Adjustment, indexed to inflation. Our counties know best about where to spend our dollars. Not doing this causes a local civil war. 

I found the emphasis is always on the land. When is the lake’s water quality considered? This should be the first item considered before land is ever looked at. The lake I live on is on the federal Impaired Waters list. Why? Increased phosphorus and chlorine caused by run-off on developed land increases by a factor of five. 

If a lake has invasive weeds, which all lakes on the Trade River chain have, we get water quality levels that cause our property values to go down. Notifying all concerned property owners should be the norm. Rezone notices seem to appear only in the Sentinel newspaper, which is very limiting.

Lake Associations, why we need them. There exist special interest groups with a focus on water quality, habitat, and safety. A member from said group should be an adviser to the zoning pre-evaluation process presented to the land use committee before every rezone regarding water quality. 

The only item I disagree with is taxing a lake- district, which puts the burden on local taxpayers. We live in a high tax state. Our Reps. in Madison like to spend our dollars on high risk ventures that shortchange counties, towns, schools, and lake associations. For lake cleanup, we, the locals, are required to write a grant that also requires a 25 percent local match. It looks like Madison’s goal is to put us all into poverty.

 Counties need to get back the lake classification component, as current law treats all lake sizes the same. In reality each lake and its surroundings require individual assessments of impact on all natural resources. We have 11,981 10 acre, named lakes that require more care than grouping them as one-size-fits-all. We hope you agree and support our request.

I am for our lakes and rivers, along with all the people who enjoy them.

Rich Hess

Trade Lake, for 50 years