Dayton’s residents and visitors are finding scant parking available when they attempt to launch their boats onto the Chain O’ Lakes.
More than 100 no-parking signs were installed along the town’s roads, many of them leading to boat landings, just before the July 4 holiday.
On Saturday, July 6, Dayton Town Chairman Chris Klein placed warning notices on more than 50 vehicles for violating the town’s parking ordinance.
He even put a notice on Town Supervisor Lee Schroeder’s vehicle. Schroeder was in the area investigating the parking situation.
Schroeder said he had received numerous complaints about the no-parking signs.
The signs and lack of parking led to criticism directed at Klein during both a Dayton Town Board meeting on July 16 and a county Parks and Recreation Committee meeting on July 15.
“I don’t like sitting at a meeting and hearing we’re doing this, this and this,” Schroeder said, criticizing Klein’s actions. “The three of us should be making these decisions, not just one.”
In January, the Dayton Town Board passed a resolution which amended its ordinance code and prohibited parking on 18 designated roads.
The no-parking areas included sections of Butternut, Cleghorn and Crystal roads, Emmons Creek Road, Knight Lane, Long Cove, Marl Lake, Parfreyville and Snug Harbor roads, four stretches of Rural Road, West Miner Drive, West Spencer Lake and Whispering Pines roads.
It also prohibited parking on County Road K, between Danielson and Barnhart roads. The town does not have jurisdiction over county highways.
At the July 16 town board meeting, Schroeder also questioned the legality of the January ordinance revision. He said the town had not given proper notification.
Although letters were sent to several residents, Schroeder said not all of the people affected were notified.
“Right now there are signs that I believe violate state statutes,” Schroeder said.
Klein noted letters were sent to property owners, but maybe not to a parcel on Rural Road. He agreed to check with the town’s attorney on the legality of the ordinance posting.
“Everything is correctable,” Klein said. “If we need to be correct, we will correct this.”
“There are some (signs) that need to be removed and some can stay,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder then made a motion that the board review the parking ordinance, do an onsite inspection and discuss the placement of the signs.
Supervisor Glen Newsome seconded the motion.
“Chris, you’re opening a can of worms with this no parking,” Newsome said.
During a special meeting on Friday, July 18, Newsome joined Schroeder and Klein on a tour to look at the placement of the no-parking signs.
Action will be taken at a future town board meeting.
“You are closing off all access to the lakes in Dayton right now,” Roger Holman told Klein at the July 15 County Parks and Rec Committee meeting. “You are effectively saying that you’re not in favor of public access.”
Holman, who is director of the county Parks and Rec Department, said his staff received complaints from tourists who were unable to launch their boats.
Holman noted the county built boat landings which the town now made inaccessible.
“I’m going to put up signs indicating that parking is gone based on the actions of the town of Dayton,” Holman said. “It’s a slap at tourism in the area.”
At the town board meeting, Dayton residents also raised concerns about how the no-parking signs will affect tourism.
“I don’t understand these parking restrictions,” said Pat Meighan, owner of the Clear Water Harbor Bar & Grill. “You have no parking on any town road?”
Meighan said the parking is just being pushed further away from water access points.
“I don’t think it’s very welcoming, and I don’t think it’s very nice,” he said. “I don’t like the fact it’s always no parking, no parking. It’s way too restrictive.”
“I have a boat that is for sale because I can’t park it anywhere,” Schroeder added.
“The parking issues you’re talking about tonight will directly have an impact on the area’s economy,” said Jeff Anderson, tourism director for the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce. “Consider that when making decisions as a town board.”
“I’m all in favor of public access,” Klein said. “I’m not in favor of parking in the right-of-way or on someone else’s property.”
He said state statutes restrict parking on the roadway. He said putting up signs and enforcing ordinances is part of a town board’s legal authority.
“I believe we have to restrict where people are parking,” Klein said. “Vehicles were parking on both sides, creating hazards, especially for emergency vehicles.”
“It is a problem,” he added. “I’m certainly open to suggestions.”
Klein said the town had only issued warnings and no tickets.
Schroeder noted two parking violation tickets had been issued by the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department.