Senate Passes Bewley’s Madeline Island Shoreland Zoning Bill


Madison – The Wisconsin State Senate passed Senator Janet Bewley’s (D-Delta) proposal, Senate Bill 104 (SB104) which accommodates the unique history and geography of the Town of La Pointe on Madeline Island. 


“La Pointe is very uniquely situated in that you must take a ferry and then drive through another county (Bayfield) in order to arrive in the county (Ashland) of which it is a part.  La Pointe on Madeline Island is a 2.2 mile ferry trip and 23 mile drive from the border of its county,” noted Bewley.  “In the summertime the Island’s population grows to over 3000 additional residents. Decades of work to balance residential and commercial development will be lost without this legislation.”


SB 104 allows the Town of La Pointe on Madeline Island to enact a shoreland zoning ordinance that is more restrictive than county shoreland zoning.  The need for this legislation came about as a result of an appellate court ruling in the case of Hegwood v. the Town Eagle. The ruling established that a town has no standing to adopt a shoreland zoning ordinance if the county adopted shoreland zoning prior to the town.  Ashland County adopted their shoreland zoning ordinance six months before the Town of La Pointe.  The bill is narrowly drafted to apply only to Madeline Island.


The Town and Ashland County worked together after the court decision to adopt a Special Development Area for La Pointe with the understanding that the town would have 2 years to pursue a legislative remedy.  There is very strong local support for this bill.


“I appreciate my colleagues’ recognition that one size does not fit all and thank them for supporting SB 104,” said Bewley.  “I look forward to working with the Assembly to get final approval for the bill.”