In December 2013, the Waupaca County Board unanimously passed a Sustainability Resolution.
Several students from two high schools attended in support of the resolution. It is in the interest of their future. At this Board meeting, Mr. Koeppen recognized the students and asked how to get more students interested in County government. This letter is in response to both the action taken at this meeting and the question of increasing student involvement in government.
In February of this year, a county supervisor made a motion to increase the viewing corridor of lake and river properties throughout Waupaca County from 30 feet to 100 feet or 30 percent of frontage, whichever is less. The motion also dropped the requirement that no clear cutting, filling, grading, or other land disturbing activities be permitted on all lakes and some rivers while retaining this requirement only on trout streams.
This had been brought up before the Zoning Committee at a public hearing in January. There had been proposals for changes to the Shoreland Zoning including the above. About a dozen people, both lake and non-lake environmentally aware citizens and a DNR spokesperson, spoke against the increase and the lifting of the clear cutting restrictions.
Additionally, 24 letters opposed the changes for reasons pertinent to sustainability, to saving trees and vegetation that control soil erosion of lake and river properties. This motion threatens fish habitat, near shore wildlife habitat, water quality, and ultimately even tourism and the economy. With this testimony the committee voted to support not increasing the viewing corridor.
At the February county board meeting, the committee’s decision was not supported and the board voted 17 to 6 in favor of increasing the viewing corridor and decreasing protection of the county lakes and rivers, thus ignoring the Committee’s recommendation.
Voting for more protection were Supervisors Kussman, Handrich, Much, Mares, G. Murphy and Ellis.
So if we are looking for an answer on how to get our youth more involved in county government, we need to follow this decision through: the board voted for the Sustainability Resolution, then disregarded a committee’s recommendation and citizen support of that recommendation. What does this teach our youth about government? How does this motivate them to get involved?
Keep decisions like this in mind when you vote for representation on your county board.
Jane E. Haasch
Working Together for Waupaca County