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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town of Grover Residents And Farmers Frustrated With Floaters

Issue Date: August 13, 2021

Members of the public at the monthly Grover Town Board meeting on Tuesday, August 3 expressed frustration over safety hazards caused by illegal parking and other issues involving â€floaters†who use the area to launch - or end - trips down the river on rafts, inner tubes and other floating devices. This is an issue that has come up before and is once again a major concern for area residents and farmers.

The meeting was called to order by Town Chair Brad Wyss at 6:30 pm. Officials attending included Katie Van De Wall (Supervisor I), Butch Wortner (Supervisor II), and Lisa Witak (Clerk/Treasurer).

One of the town residents who addressed the board during time for public comment at the start of the meeting mentioned that the board had taken the initiative some years ago to install â€no parking†signs by the black bridge. Board members agreed, and said the town has been having problems there for years. They understood that at one time â€no parking†signs were even spray painted on the pavement to deter floaters from parking along that area.

The road crew advisor mentioned that new signs put up just a few days earlier were already gone.

Several speakers expressed concern that those who use the black bridge as an entrance or exit for float trips down the river are parking on or near the bridge, making it difficult and dangerous for farm equipment to cross the bridge.

One farmer stated equipment for chopping hay was blocked from passing the bridge once again and he had to deal with people â€cussing and swearing and throwing things at the equipment.â€

Farmers and other area residents present explained that when they have a trailer with 14 to 16 tons of corn silage coming down that hill behind a tractor, â€there's no stopping something like that.†Even though the tractor is already geared down, there are likely to be problems, but people do not get out of the way.

â€A few floaters are going to ruin it for all if they continue with careless behavior,†one resident declared. Concerns were expressed that people could be killed there.

Trash seems to be strewn about on private property as well. Residents and farmers who frequently deal with these concerns said they are getting fed up.

One farmer who was present for the meeting described an incident where floaters were hitting farm equipment, and said by the time police responded to their call, the floater was able to get away.

Due to the heated nature of recent incidents the board members discussed ways to get the problem solved as quickly as possible.

It was found that many of the signs that were once posted on or near the bridge are missing...not only â€no parking†signs, but also signs that say no fishing or standing on the bridge. Board members agreed that even though their road signs seem to keep going missing, they should be put back up. They also agreed that once the "no parking" signs are back in place they will work with a tow company to have illegally parked vehicles towed away at the owner's expense.

Supervisor Van De Walle commented that most likely 10% of the floaters cause 90% of the problems. Everyone felt if vehicles are towed and the owners are billed, that will make people talk,and warn their friends that â€...if you park in the wrong area, it is will cost you a couple hundred bucks.â€

Board members agreed with the comment, "It's a matter of safety. Someone is going to get hurt or perhaps even killed.†The board then instructed Town Road Worker Joe Liptak to put up new signs by the end of the week, and that has now been done.

Members of the public also expressed concern about speeding on Town Hall Road. Wyss said he believes the board could reduce the speed by ten miles per hour without doing a speed study. They agreed that changing the speed limit for the entire length of Town Hall Road would be added to the agenda for the September board meeting, which will be on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m. Grover Town Board meetings are generally held on the first Tuesday of each month.

Jeff Ermis of Kimberly was present to ask the board a question about hunting. He wondered if he could sign a waiver that would allow him to hunt on the old landfill property, an 80-acre parcel down the road from Town Hall. Wyss said he could not hunt there, and added that rule has to do with the landfill that was there years ago.

In other business of the evening, the board considered a request from the owners of Northpoint to update the sign on top of their establishment. Owner Joe Nichols explained he wants to add a programmable sign that can advertise specials and such on the top of his building. He said at this point he just wanted to talk with the board to learn where the board sits in regard to what he wants to do, and wondered if his business was grandfathered in so he could change his sign regardless of sign ordinances that may have been added later.

Nichols said because the new sign would be such a significant investment for him, he wanted to get the board's input as to how to proceed with changes. Nichols also said that as far as advertising for his business, he is extremely limited in options.

Wyss said he was aware of Nichols' sign concerns, as he had heard from the sign company on Friday. Wyss added that Northpoint's current sign is non-conforming, and not allowed under the current ordinance. The new sign would also not be allowed under the current ordinance, due to illumination and animation issues regulated in the current ordinances.

Wyss added that the book of ordinances will be rewritten this fall, because many of the ordinances do not account for advancements in technology. Right now even ordinary digital signs are not allowed along the highway. Wyss said he was aware of the need for the ordinances to change, but it all takes time.

Supervisor Wortner brought up the timeliness of the deal that Nichols was getting from the sign company, and said the town does not want to impede on that process.

Because he did not want to wait until the ordinances are revised, Nichols asked for advice on how to get something about his sign done before hunting season. Wyss advised him to request a variance, and asked Nichols to stay until the end of the meeting to discuss the process of filing the variance request.

During the communications portion of the meeting, town treasurer Lisa Witak stated the tax levy payment will be coming from the county soon along with shared revenue of $10,413.72.

Witak also announced that the town had received its new Dominion voting machine, and assured members of the board, and the public, that they would see there is no modem, so the machine couldn't be hacked. She added that Grover is so small that it would be easy to hand check ballots to ensure a legal vote tally.

Wyss expressed gratitude to the Grover-Porterfield Fire Department for their efforts after the storms on July 26th and 27th, when there were as many as 14 calls in a 10-hour period. He said an impressive load of work had been completed in a very timely manner. Wyss also reported that the bay door of the building was struck by a fire truck and it had been repaired.

Joe Liptak reported that five or six trees by the creek behind the Town Hall had fallen during the last storm and need to be removed. He said ditch cutting was complete, but there were mower issues that needed to be taken care of. One of the flaps was broken and he had ordered a new one, which arrived on Tuesday. Signs for Five Corners will be replaced. Junk behind the Town Hall is being cleaned up, including a lot of rusty rims and tires. Mar- Oco Landfill will be called for information on how to get rid of them.

Wortner questioned a $240 charge in his section of the budget that was not from him. It was found to be six per diem expenses for election hours.

As has been done at previous meetings, the board discussed updates and maintenance needs for the interior and exterior of the Town Hall. A free inspection of the propane lines in the building had been done, and the findings were that the lines were not up to code because of the new heaters in the hall. Wyss suggested they should move the propane tank and update the lines to bring the building up to code.

Agenda for the meeting had called for appointing a new Zoning Administrator, but no appointment was made, and it was stated that the board will continue to look for a new Zoning Administrator. Chair Wyss has been serving as Interim Zoning Administrator since former Supervisor Kim Kittredge resigned from that position. In his Zoning Administrator report at the meeting, Wyss indicated one new building permit was issued during the past month, along with some fire numbers.

After brief discussion and some wording changes the board agreed to advertise for bids for culvert repair/replacement in preparation for the Bundy Road project, with bids to be opened on Aug. 18. The board hopes to get the required culvert work done this year so the road can be paved next year. The mandated culvert inspection found seven culverts on Bundy Road that need to be repaired or replaced, including one with a section of 72-inch wide boiler pipe where repair would be an acceptable option.

One operator license application was approved.

Before the meeting adjourned it was announced that former Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch would be in the area visiting local business on Friday, Oct. 8. Kleefisch is expected to be a candidate for governor in 2022.


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