Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Regulatory reform bill receives senate approval

by Neal Kedzie - State Senator

March 15, 2012

Kedzie
MADISON — The Wisconsin State Senate gave final approval to Senate Bill 326, a major regulatory reform measure authored by Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) and co-authored by Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz), which streamlines various waterway permits issued by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and removes many of the burdensome regulations placed on pier owners.

Kedzie said lawmakers and the DNR worked together for more than a year on the bill, which he believes will help the private sector create jobs by providing more clarity and certainty in the overall permitting process.

In addition, he says the pier regulations enacted a few years ago were causing frustration and confusion across the state, leaving property owners wondering if their pier was or was not legal. SB 326 repeals much of the regulations placed on existing piers.

"For too long, a confusing web of regulations have been impeding job growth and adding more costs to doing business in Wisconsin — this bill is a significant step towards untangling the web," Kedzie said.

"Further, people who've owned a pier for decades should not have to live under a cloud of uncertainty regarding the legality of their pier; SB 326 finally restores common sense to the pier regulations and allows those individuals to simply keep what they've always had."

SB 326 allows the DNR to create general permits for minor activities occurring near waterways, while preserving the more customized individual permits for sensitive areas and activities. The bill creates specific timelines in the waterway permit process, while maintaining public notification and input on such permits. It also make a number of smaller changes to various DNR regulations, which the Department requested in order to create more efficiencies and cost savings.

In regards to piers, all existing piers are considered exempt from regulation so long as they do not impede navigation or infringe on the rights of other pier owners. In addition, pier owners will no longer be required to register their pier with the DNR.

New piers placed in the water could have a loading platform of no more then 200 square feet without a permit, and for the first time, property owners will expressly have the right to place a pier, so long as they work with the DNR on the size, shape, and location of the pier if placed in a sensitive area.

"The current regulations are a sore spot for many pier owners who are upset their piers — which may have been in the water for decades — might be considered illegal; it's time to end that," Kedzie ssaid. "I am very pleased with the bi-partisan vote by the Senate today on this regulatory reform initiative, and am confident it will reach the governor's desk in the very near future."

Editor's Note: This release came from Kedzie's office.