Committee Agrees To Limit ETZ RegulationsIssue Date: May 29, 2019
At its meeting on Thursday, May 23, members of the Joint Village of Crivitz/Town of Stephenson Extra Territorial Zoning (ETZ) Committee met to define the boundaries and iron out the purpose and general provisions of an ETZ ordinance designed to protect sources of water for the Village of Crivitz water.
The ETZ ordinance will govern uses of some properties in the Town of Stephenson that lie within a mile and a half of the village boundaries, and more strict regulations may apply to areas near the three wells for the village.
After amicable discussion they agreed unanimously to limit the scope of the ordinance strictly to protection of drinking water for wells that supply the village and the town residents and businesses in the affected areas, and to enact the least intrusive land use planning needed to accomplish that.
Members of the ETZ Committee for the Town of Stephenson are supervisors Kevin Solway and Jim Stradl and Town Chair Mike Kudick. Village representatives are Trustees Jeff Dorschner, Stew Swanson and Amy Grandaw. All were present for Thursday's meeting along with about 40 members of the public, and other officials including Village President Kurt Kostuch, Village Attorney Richard Boren, Town Clerk Elaine Olson and Village Clerk/Treasurer Marilyn Padgett.
The village had proposed a purpose and possible districts worksheet for the proposed ordinance that stated:
ŕ. Through the implementation of a wellhead overlay zoning district, protect the Village of Crivitz municipal wells to provide safe drinking water to people who drink water from the village water supply, including but not limited to residents, customers, employees, healthcare patients, and students.
Ŗ. Protect the safety of drinking water from private wells in the town of Stephenson which are located in a proposed wellhead protection overlay district.
ŗ. Promote land use in the extraterritorial zoning area to benefit property owners in both the village and the affected area of the town.
Ř. Address potential uses that may depreciate affected land values, tax base and have a negative effect on landowners' use and enjoyment of their property both in the village and the affected area of the town.
ř. enact the least intrusive land use planning that would accomplish the above, and
Ś. All building construction would still require a building permit from the Town of Stephenson."
The document went on to delineate numerous land use districts that could be implemented within the ETZ boundaries that would limit types of dwellings, industrial uses, agricultural operations, etc. that lie in the town, which does not have zoning.
In accord with the committee's policy to alternate running meetings between village and town that was adopted at its initial meeting in April, this meeting was chaired by Kudick. Kudick noted that the purpose of the ETZ Committee and the zoning ordinance is wellhead protection. Everyone on the committee agreed with that statement. Some members of the audience had felt it started because of the possibility that a "frac sand" mining operation is being developed in the town.
Solway said the town board had objected to provisions 3 and 4 of the proposed purpose worksheet as being outside the propose from the town's point of view. Grandaw asked if he meant they should remove them completely, and Solway declared they should. He said the town board had no problem with helping the village protect its well water supply, but items three and four sound more like a land use/zoning ordinance.
"The town is trying not to limit what property owners can do on their own property as long as it doesn't affect the village water supply," he explained.
Grandaw suggested changing Item 3 to say it only limits property rights if it affects the village water supply or water supply of neighbors in the town.
Boren said items 1 and 2 already cover that, so if they would just take out items 3 and 4, it is covered.
Grandaw then moved to accept removal of items 3 and 4. Members of the public asked for copies of the proposed list. There were not enough copies available,so Grandaw read the provisions. Someone commented item 4 sounded pretty important. Kudick replied the townspeople do not want zoning rules. The committee then voted unanimously to remove items 3 and 4.
Discussion moved on to a description of the area affected by the Extra Territorial Zoning. Padgett said in accord with state law the maps are drawn to show the mile and a half boundary around the village limits.
Boren suggested that since now it sounds like only the wellhead protection area will be affected they should just include that in the zoning map. Padgett disagreed. She suggested leaving the ETZ boundaries as it has been adopted by the village board but only regulate it as limited by the purpose statement.
Kostuch said the village would like the boundaries kept as is. There was talk of how to define areas subject to stricter rules due to wellhead protection, and Grandaw noted there are water flow studies included in their wellhead protection plan that show which way the groundwaters run, and therefore how much of the area is protected.
Padgett said the wellhead protection plan is posted on the village website, and Solway said he will get the ETZ information posted on the town's website as well.
Solway then moved to delineate the boundaries as shown on the Crivitz ETZ map, and that motion was approved without dissent.
Question was asked from the audience why they did not just make it solid square around the village. Kudick said by law it must be the mile and a half from the village limits, and Grandaw agreed, but also explained the village had tried no to cut through any properties.
There was no provision for public comment on the agenda. Kudick suggested the next meeting agenda should provide for that, and everyone agreed.
The next meeting is to be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 27 At the committee's initial meeting in April it was agreed to meet on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the village hall or at the fire station in the village.
Solway said the town board had talked about inviting someone from the DNR to explain provisions that are already in place for wellhead protection. There was suggestion from Craig Cherry, speaking from the audience, to get a UWEX soil and water specialist to address them. He said some types of soils are very susceptible to contaminants and others are not.
"I'm in favor of everybody giving us information and explanations," Solway declared."This is not my area of expertise!"
Padgett suggested they should ask Andrew Aslesen of Wisconsin Rural Water Association to provide some input. She said Aslesen had helped prepare the village's wellhead protection plan, and added that he's a great presenter. Everyone agreed he should be invited, and repeated they want to gather information from as many sources as possible.
Deb Manicor, from the audience, expressed concerns about attempts by a person named Howard Sterneman who claims to represent a mining operation to get them to sign documents related to sale or use of their 21 acres in the Town of Stephenson near the railroad tracks at County W and St. Paul Road. She and her husband had been approached by this person in March, and he offered them "a very non-detailed contract" to reserve their land for the frac sand use. She said he was telling people they had to sell for the betterment of the community, and that others were already on board. She added that she holds a mining minor degree from UW-Platteville, so she knows about mining operations, and declared,"I don't want anything coming into our community that would jeopardize anyone's health," and added, "if it will be a good thing for our community, I'm all for it." She said they had their own attorney draw up a 14-page proposed contract the salesman/buyer had promptly rejected. Their property is in the ETZ area, but the person had also talked about properties not in the ETZ district. She said people at the courthouse and in the title company could not tell them if they did or did not own the mineral rights to their property. Boren said this meeting, and the ETZ ordinance is not all about the proposed mine, and has in fact been in the works since 2008.
"It's not just about protecting against the mine, it's about all sorts of things," Dorschner agreed. Boren added it is about protecting the well head area from any typeof contamination.
Asked if the ordinance would preclude a 160-foot deep mine within the wellhead area, Kudick replied, "That's what we're trying to find out." Padgett said Aslesen had told them that if it is within the wellhead overlay district, it would.
Manicor said there are safe and successful frac sand mines in Wisconsin, but they are getting no information from the Sterneman or the company on how the proposed mine in their area would be operated.
Cherry said the frac sand mine is proposed for the John Bartkowski quarry property, for which there already is a reclamation plan in place. He suggested if a proposed site lies outside the ETZ area it would be up to the Town of Stephenson to say "no" to high capacity wells.
The next ETZ Joint Committee meeting is to be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 27 in the Crivitz Village Hall, chaired by Dorschner as head of the village board's Development Committee.
Recent stories, opinions and photos