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Suamico board discusses DNR not allowing home on platted lot

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

SUAMICO – The village board is taking exception to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources not allowing a property owner to build a house.

Building Inspector Steve Dunks informed the board Monday, June 17, about wetlands issues/concerns having surfaced in the platted area of the Hunter’s Run subdivision.

Dunks noted the issues first surfaced in the fall of 2018 when the property owner on Wyndrush Drive began brushing out the lot he bought in 2011.

“It’s a legitimate, buildable lot,” Dunks said. “I have nothing that says that it’s not.”

An email Dunks sent last November to DNR Water Management Specialist Crystal von Holdt stated wetlands were not present on this property, based on the recorded plat.

An adjacent property owner had concerns that a home located next to an already improved lot would result in excess water being directed toward that property.

Dunks said the adjacent property owner then contacted the DNR and the vacant lot was eventually declared wetlands. Permits to fill the wetland area were denied.

“He can’t get permits to fill this and whatnot,” Dunks said. “It’s no longer a buildable lot.”

Von Holdt told Dunks it can be unreliable and/or inconsistent for landowners to rely on a certified survey map for wetland information.

The property owner provided the DNR with a wetland delineation done in 1992, which determined wetlands were not present on that parcel.

Von Holdt said the methodology used then for determining wetlands was much different and less thorough than it is today, which under the current review standards now used show the area as wetland.

In addition, she noted any wetland delineations done prior to five years ago are invalid, and the property does not meet the artificial wetland exemption.

Dunks said a building permit issued today might be affected in the future if something related to the property would change and then be considered a wetland.

He noted he was also contacted by an individual interested in a lot on Loxley Court, and that individual contacted the DNR, which determined a drainage channel there is a navigable waterway and that wetlands may be present.

“Before any construction or lot improvements are done, a wetland determination needs to be completed,” Dunks said. “I’m not real optimistic about that, just because of what happened on this other one.”

Dunks said 10-12 lots in the subdivision have been developed with roads and sewer, and the planned future extension of Wyndrush Drive to South Wyndrush Drive has sewer already in the ground for future lots.

Those could be affected if those properties are determined by the DNR to be wetlands and not buildable.

He said the village is incurring costs for the public improvements made in that area, which wouldn’t generate property taxes upon the lots being not buildable.

Dunks said he can’t issue a building permit on a lot after the DNR has determined it to be a wetland.

Trustee Dan Roddan, who asked that the matter be brought before the board, voiced his frustrations about the DNR determining property to be wetlands when a previous determination found otherwise.

“I am tired of the DNR and the power that the DNR holds… to be able to ruin what has already been platted, what has already been determined back in 1993,” Roddan said. “They play these games… How fair is that to that individual and how fair is it to the village that expects that revenue to pay for all of that infrastructure that we put in already for that plat.”

Roddan suggested bringing the matter to the attention of all elected state officials who represent the village.

Trustee Sky Van Rossum said the matter likely would have to be resolved with a class action suit joined by individuals and municipalities.

“It’s going to take some sort of litigation beyond this body,” Van Rossum said.

Board members then favored drafting a resolution about the matter to forward to state lawmakers, the governor and the DNR.

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