Webster resident Norman Bickford offered his opinion about Wood River Zoning to the full County Board on March 21, 2019. (Burnett County Sentinel, April 3, 2019, page 7,” Supervisor points out Wood River Zoning, by Jonathan Richie, Editor”) Mr. Bickford is the County Supervisor of District 11, which encompasses much of the Village of Webster and part of Meenon Township.
Nevertheless, he is not an outsider offering an opinion, rather he is a knowledgeable supervisor who understands land use issues. He believes unzoned means unprotected. Thankfully, however, the private property rights of Town of Wood River residents are protected by ordinance from this specific major change.
The Town of Wood River has been fiercely independent, and that has served us well through the years in dealing with each other. We respect each others’ differing opinions. We use our land wisely and well. When someone comes to our Town proposing a Christian camp, that is welcomed. When they change midstream, and apply instead for a permit to set up an RV camp with as many as 175 units on Big Wood Lake, they get our attention. The Baptist Community discontinued its operation of the camp more than 12 months ago. Therefore, no Town Building permits or County Land Use permits can be issued in the interim until a new application is made.
Personally, I support the idea of reopening the property as a Christian camp, which was the original promise made by the new buyers to local Pastors. However, it would require funding by a patron with religious intent and community values.