Planning Commission Minutes – March 7, 2022

Town of Bell Planning Commission meeting minutes

March 7, 2022


Meeting called to order at 4:03 p.m.

Commissioners present: Mark Ehlers, Gordon Anderson, Jackie Eid

Community members present: Roger Lindgren, Jayne Norton

Motion to approve minutes from Jan. 18, 2022 and Feb. 7, 2022 by Mark Ehlers, 2nd Gordon Anderson. Unanimous

Correspondence/Updates: In 11-2021 the Planning Commission was tasked with seeing if short-term rentals can be regulated.

2022 Year in Review: Motion to accept by Mark Ehlers, 2nd Gordon Anderson. Unanimous

Siskiwit Lake Campground: Had a lengthy discussion led by Gordon Anderson representing the Parks and Lands Committee. At this time no one knows if the campground hosts will be coming back or not due to the size restriction. P&L kicked around a couple options. Thoughts on selling or leasing the campground. Looking to add 3 permanent motorhome sights along the road. Possibly bring in power to those sights? Would help subsidize the campground. Would the 3 permanent spots be seasonal or year round? Leasing of the campground as a campground could be an option. Sale of the campground was not agreeable. Gordon will be taking this back to Parks and Lands.

Norton Class A Special Use short-term rental: The upstairs of the house is being finished and will have its own bathroom facilities. Will have a separate entrance and parking . Motion by Mark Ehlers to approve, 2nd Jackie Eid. Unanimous

Permit & Variance Application: We looked at the document and amended #4 to read; An application must be received by the Town Clerk at least 10 calendar days prior to the scheduled Plan Commission meeting for it to be put on that month’s Plan Commission agenda. Motion to amend #4 as written by Mark Ehlers, 2nd Gordon Anderson. Unanimous

Commercial Use of Public Lands: tabled to next month.

Short-term Rentals: If a room tax is implemented 30% would go to the general fund and 70% towards tourism. Could the tourism part have to go to the CBA or a civic organization. Can use for things to promote visitors such as a tourist center, newer bathrooms. There is a little wiggle room as to how we can use the money. Promote the fish fry, Corny Day, Art Crawl. Maybe resurrect the Green Shed. Tax can not exceed 8%. What is the bookkeeping end of a roomtax? Gordon looked up room tax and it stated that only a munincipality can collect this tax. Then a report has to be filed with Wi. Dept. of Revenue. We are a tourist driven economy. How do we add this to our revenue base. How many short-term rentals do we want? How can we rein them in? What is the criteria for how many short-term rentals a person can have before it turns to commercial? It was agreed that the most important thing for our community is to preserve the character of our community.

Sidewalk Ordinance: After much discussion there were several items to consider.

  • Do our ordinances have any effect to Bayfield County Sheriff. Who do we call, how do we enforce.
  • If we don’t have an enforcement mechanism in the Town do we have one with the County?
  • If we follow state statute will/can the County enforce.
  • Value of the ordinance. Looking towards the future, if there is no ordinance any type of sidewalk is ok. Need a plan to show 25 yrs. from now what we planned for today.
  • If Build Back Better gets funded, sidewalk, curb and gutter are back on the table.
  • Recommend to the Town to make a decision of enforcement of all the ordinances.
  • Need to identify statutes, penalties. What penalty to impose. An incremental fine?
  • What can we do for those that do not comply.
  • If we (Town of Bell) are not going to enforce who is?

For the next Plan Commission meeting Gordon is going to look into the room tax and Mark will be contacting Bayfield County Sheriff about ordinance enforcement.

Next meeting is April 11, 2022, 4:00 p.m. Town of Bell Community Center

Motion to adjourn by Jackie Eid, 2nd Mark Ehlers. Unanimous. Adjourned 5:47 p.m.