A plan to provide parking for people using the boat launch on Spencer Lake has angered some local residents.
Crews working for the town of Dayton have been cutting down trees along West Spencer Lake Road, between the boat landing and Spencer Lake Road.
“I was taking a walk this morning, and I saw a whole row of 15 pine trees being hacked down,” Casey Plunkett said Friday, Nov. 30. “They are clear cutting a quarter mile of road and turning it into what looks like a parking lot. I’m just sick of it.”
Plunkett, who has lived along West Spencer Lake Road since 1968, said removing the trees between the roads and people’s homes will also take away their privacy.
“With the trees, you had a certain degree of seclusion,” Plunkett said. “Now, it’s wide open. Someone casing the area at 2 a.m. can see right into people’s homes as they drive by.”
Town Chairman Chris Klein said the town is removing the trees from the road right-of-way in order to provide parking for those using the town’s boat landing on Spencer Lake.
“The town is creating an area for people to park so they are not in the road or blocking access to the neighbors’ driveways,” Klein said. “My idea is that there would be an area for parking for vehicles with trailers on the west side of the road and for vehicles without trailers on the east side of the road.”
Klein said the town’s decision to create the parking areas was in response to complaints from residents living near the boat landing.
Klein said he attended a meeting of residents interested in starting a lake association on Spencer Lake.
“Half that meeting was complaints about the people using the public access and the parking,” Klein said.
At a Dayton Town Board meeting on June 19, several residents living near the boat landing complained about the noise, profanity, trespassing and the lack of toilet facilities.
Plunkett told the board in June that the landing was also being used by swimmers, who refused to move when boats tried to load and unload. He asked the board to designate the site as either a beach or a boat landing. Others asked the board to post “No Swimming” signs.
Klein told the County Post that the town does not have the authority to limit access to the lakes.
Under Wisconsin’s constitution, all navigable waters belong to all state residents, Klein said.
Klein said the town does have the authority to limit parking at the boat landing and control parking along the road.
“The problem with people parking in the landing area is that those with trailers were having problems turning around,” Klein said. “Hopefully, that will alleviate the problem for people living in the neighborhood.”
Plunkett said, “The issue isn’t parking, the issue is people bringing their lawn chairs, blankets and umbrellas and turning the boat landing into a beach.”
He said as many as three dozen people at a time may be using the boat landing as a public beach in the summer.
Plunkett also questioned the cost for removing trees along town roads.
During the November meeting, the town board approved setting aside funds from the $143,000 landfill insurance settlement to pay for improvements at the town’s six boat landings, as well as for building a new shed for storing road equipment.
Klein said most of the work near the boat landings will take place in the spring of 2013.