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New short-term rental legislation causes controversy in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 02/12/2018
Story By Fitzgerald, Maggie

New short-term rental legislation causes controversy in the Northwoods
NORTHWOODS - Owning a second home can be expensive. Between property taxes and maintenance costs, homeowners are sometimes paying more than the property is worth.

Thanks to a new law, homeowners now have more power over what they can do with their home when they aren't using it.


Wisconsin legislators passed a new law that protects the ability of homeowners to rent out their homes on a short-term basis with the hope of increasing second-home ownership. But the law has some members of the Northwoods community worried about their peace and quiet. 

"It's just disruptive. It's just not a residential area anymore," said Paul Werner, a resident of Sugar Camp.

Werner and his wife, Karen, have owned their home since 1972.

"It just been one mess right after the other with the renters," said Werner.

Over the years, Werner has had countless bad experiences with a neighboring home that rents short-term.

"Every week it's a different group of people, it's a different group of noise, and a different group of kids screaming and yelling," Werner said.

Werner is worried others in the Northwoods will have the same bad experience because of the recent change in the law.

"If people are going to come up and be respectful, it's going to be no problem. If people are going to come up partying and shooting off fireworks every night, then we're going to see some real backlash," said Jim Mulleady of Coldwell Banker Mulleady Realtors.

The controversial law, which passed as a part of the budget, gives homeowners rather than local government control of home rentals.

"We've always had the desire for people to rent out their homes," said Oneida County Zoning Director Karl Jennrich.

Jennrich says there has been an increase in rental permit requests. But he worries about taking away local control.

"Once you start renting it out on such a basis, it's more of a business," Jennrich said.

The owner of Holiday Acres Resort in Rhinelander, Kim Zambon, was disappointed with the way the law was passed. He said the process didn't allow for any public debate.

"I think we're opening up the marketplace to some pretty unregulated and uncontrolled rental opportunities," Zambon said.

Zambon worries about the effect the change will have on his own business.

"I think there should be an even playing field," he said.

Steven Petersen, board president of the Minocqua Chamber of Commerce, says that as long as the resort business is protected, more foot traffic in the Northwoods is good for the economy.

"It just enhances our community, makes it a better community when we have people coming here and leaving their money," Petersen said.

Homeowner Curt Frost isn't trying to compete with local resorts. He lives in Illinois and rents out his second home in Minocqua. Frost said owning the home wouldn't be worth it if he couldn't rent it out and offset some of the property taxes and maintenance costs.

"It wouldn't make that much sense to have that much money parked in a second home," he said. "There wouldn't be any tax advantages, and we probably wouldn't enjoy it the same way." 

But the Werners think they have a right to enjoy their home too.

"They say people, like the neighbors here, have a right to do things on their property. But don't the rest of us have a right?" said Werner.

State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) did not support the law being put into the budget.

"They better make sure that their renters are not causing trouble, because if there's enough problems that are created, we'll have to take the privilege away from them," Tiffany said.

Local governments can make regulations that require property owners to comply with noise standards, parking requirements, and health permits.

The law also allows local governments to place a six-month cap on rentals, but Oneida County is not doing that. It is requiring a seven-day minimum on home rentals. 

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/14/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


Citizens all over Wisconsin are going to the polls today to exercise their right to vote in the primary elections. We'll take you live to local polling places to see how the turnout has been for the elections and tell you why some ballots may not go into the machine the first time.

Today's elections involve several local and state races in Wisconsin. We'll bring you a preview of the races on Newswatch 12 at 5 and 6, and we'll give you the latest totals on Newswatch 12 at 10.

And we talk to employees at a Lac du Flambeau construction company and tell you why businesses in that area are hiring people both inside and outside of the reservation.


We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Everything from construction to the local call center want to bring in more employees, even outside of the reservation.

"[Work] has been picking up in the past couple of years and so we're swamped now," said LDF Construction site foreman William Krause.

LDF Construction is part of the tribe's Business Development Corporation. The BDC was created to maintain sustainable jobs throughout the community in 2012.

"The Lac du Flambeau area is definitely growing [in business]," said Krause.

Even though the area is growing, Krause said nearly every business involved with the BDC needs more workers.

LDF Holdings employee Tiffany Boman lends money to customers. She thinks people might not be applying to Lac du Flambeau businesses because they think the reservation is only open to native workers.

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TOMAHAWK - Hundreds of people lined up to get groceries today, but not a single person had to pay a dime.

The Feeding America food truck was parked at Sara Park in Tomahawk Tuesday.

Anyone, no matter their income or living situation, could fill a shopping cart full of groceries to take home.

This is the 5th year Darlene Laabs and the Northwoods Vineyard Church raised money to bring the food truck to the Northwoods.

Laabs started this in honor of her late husband who always worried about children being hungry.

"I feel really blessed that I am able to do this," said Laabs. "We are doing this all for the glory of God and I am doing it in his memory. I know that he's looking down and is well pleased with the project."

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MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee police have shot and killed a 48-year-old man on the city's south side.

Police Chief Alfonso Morales says officers were following up Monday afternoon on a suspect who fled from them earlier in the day. Officers conducted a traffic stop, and Morales says the Milwaukee man got out of the vehicle with a gun.

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SUPERIOR - A jury has found two people guilty of disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer following a protest at Enbridge Energy's Line 3 construction site in Wisconsin last summer.


Wisconsin Public Radio reports that 24-year-old Alexander Emery Good-Cane-Milk of South Dakota and 26-year-old Kyla L. Hassig of Minnesota were also found guilty of trespassing on the site where Enbridge was working to replace a 12.5-mile (20-kilometer) segment of its 1960s-era oil pipeline in Wisconsin.

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MINOCQUA - You'll find a sea of blue paddling, propelling, and pulling its way across Lake Minocqua on Saturday mornings.

Joanie Morgan is a part of the Island City Dragon Boat Club. "Once I got in [to dragon boat racing], it's so addicting," said Morgan. "It's fun to be out here with the whole team."

That whole team is made up of 35 women, of all ages and all sizes.

"It's all about women putting 100 percent effort in. [I like] seeing 20 people in a boat just giving 100 percent and seeing what we can do," said team captain Dalia Clausen.

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LADYSMITH - A Rusk County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a man after an altercation at a home over the weekend.

Authorities say a caller told dispatchers a man at the home was intoxicated and the caller was afraid he could become violent. Deputies responded to the home in the Village of Hawkins, about 20 miles east of Ladysmith, and one deputy fired during the Sunday night altercation.

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