Recent letters to the editor in the local newspapers as well as a motion passed at the Polk County board to tell zoning folks to go easy on lake shore zoning seem to be part of an attempt by local conservatives (Tea Party county board man Hershel in the lead) to promote a pro-business attitude. It fits with the current WI push to open the state to business by weakening environmental concerns.
For those of us who like clean water, clean air, and a rural environment, this is a concern. It comes at a time when the Polk Zoning committee is rewriting the zoning rules. We have to be careful or the pro-business, anti-environment folks will weaken the protection of our natural resources. I doubt that many of us would want Polk County to become another St Croix County WI or Chisago County MN--suburbs of the Twin Cities.
You can read and comment on this either way and are supposed to be able to submit the comment form online, however I found after I filled it out, it failed to submit--so I wouldn't count on this getting to the zoning committee without printing it and sending it by mail.
If you doubt the direction of the movement, check the recent actions of the county board attempting to force the zoning board to ignore the zoning rules on lake shore zoning and the general direction of WI to open mines all over the place with weakened regulation. We have a wonderful local environment and filling it with development is really not going to make things better. Just tell them to protect our lakes, streams and beautiful surroundings.
Many of us grumble at times about the zoning regulations, however they are needed. I remember when Bass Lake, just north of Cushing was an excellent fishing lake -- 1950s and earlier. However, by the 1960s, the barnyard runoff from just 4 neighboring farmers fertilized it so heavily that it became a mass of weeds; the fish died off, and it was a ruined lake.
Since that time, zoning and much improved farming practices have allowed the lake to begin the process of rebalancing and now I occasionally see a fisher or swimmer in the lake again. We have to be very careful in the rewrite of these rules that we don't lose protection of our wonderful area.
I was struck by this article in the Twin Cities newspapers:
Mining Problems could pollute water for 500 years
If we don't speak up, we may find our county rapidly becoming someplace we don't want to live anymore.