Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shadow Wood developers plead no contest on DNR violations

Ashland Daily Press, April 27, 2010

The developers of an exclusive fly-in development in northern Bayfield County Monday agreed to a deposit forfeiture of over $2,000 to settle a trio of Department of Natural Resources water control law violations in Bayfield County Circuit Court.

The development organization, CFS LLC, agreed to a stipulated agreement in the case, which was a civil action taken by the Department of Natural Resources under the state's water control laws. The stipulated agreement said the action was taken against CFS for land-disturbing logging clean-up at their 380-acre tract in the Town of Russell. The stipulation said the parties involved wanted to settle the matter by agreeing to the payment of CFS of $1,159 as part of a no-contest plea on two citations, while a third citation was to be dismissed.

The two counts included charges failed to inspect or monitor erosion control best management practices or to maintain inspection. DNR Conservation Warden Pat Quintance issued the three citations. The citation noted that Quintance observed no erosion control measures in place at the project that would commonly be used to protect water resources. He also noted that there had been no inspection report done for the project.

The second charge for which CFS entered a no contest plea was that they failed to develop an appropriate site-specific erosion control plan for the development.

A charge that CFS had failed to apply for coverage under a construction site stormwater discharge permit at least 14 working days before beginning land disturbance was dismissed.

The citations were issued on September 24 of last year and the court date had been set for last January, but the original charges were dismissed because they had been improperly filed against Annalisa Cariveau, president and chief executive officer of CFS LLC, instead of the corporation itself.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Bayfield County

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is a time to reflect on the future for the Bayfield peninsula. What legacy will we leave our children and grandchildren? Do we want to leave a vibrant, sustainable community that includes small cities, towns, farmland, orchards, and small businesses? Will our grandchildren live and work here - in a community that is a model for green communities everywhere?

Or do we want to allow a few people to profit from the natural resources of our peninsula, sucking it dry of all the goodness that residents enjoy today. Will we leave a "tourist ghetto" - just another stop on the tour of "must do" places? Will our children be scattered to the wind in an effort to find good employment and escape high taxes?

Our County could be a model for rural mass transit, or it could be choked with traffic and the noise of incoming air flights. Our community could be a model for small town sustainability, or it could be another Aspen. We could be leaders in valuing the residents of our communities and in finding innovative ways to meet their needs, or we could force those who are not wealthy to move elsewhere. We could work together to solve the problems that are inherent in growth, or we could give up and sell our lands and resources to the highest bidder.

The choice is yours. Call your County Board representative and share your vision for the future of Bayfield County.

Congratulations to the new Bayfield County Board Supervisors; Patti Rantala, Beth Meyers, Bill Bussey, and John Bennett.

Friday, April 2, 2010

“BAIT AND SWITCH”, The Empty Promise of Jobs

The CFS-LLC spokesperson has repeatedly promised the community, in both her oral and written communications, “good jobs” if the rezone request is granted. Her “Planting the Facts” direct mail propaganda has even provided a detailed summary of those alleged employment opportunities – although she now denies that CFS-LLC even has a specific development plan. Shadow Wood Landing and Stratosphere Airport “are just a dream”, she now claims.

This is what developers tell communities like ours to gain support for inappropriate, unpopular development projects. Large scale developments such as Shadow Wood Landing and Stratosphere Airport, which this zoning change request is intended to accommodate, don’t employ local tradesmen, and don’t source materials locally.

The faceless out of state corporations, and their anonymous investors behind such development initiatives, are motivated purely by profit. They are not interested in “doing something positive” for the community, as the CFS spokesperson has alleged.

The contracts for major projects such as Shadow Wood Landing – with a proposed commercial area twice the size of Miller Hill Mall – are awarded by competitive bid to very large, capable, experienced construction firms with national resources. Such firms are headquartered in major cities like Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, or Minneapolis. No contractor in northern Wisconsin is even qualified to bid on an airport and 200 unit luxury hotel.

These large, national contractors have preferred, qualified, low cost material suppliers. They don’t purchase locally. They have their own equipment – cranes, excavators, forklifts, compactors, and pavers. They have their own skilled labor. They import all necessary resources, often including temporary housing for workers. They don’t buy a 2 x 4, or a nail, locally.

Frank Graves has said that “Bayfield could become another Aspen” by embracing this project. Unfortunately, he is right.

I lived in Colorado during the Aspen development boom, and witnessed the effect on the community. Aspen, like Bayfield County, was promised jobs and business. No local tradesmen were employed. No materials were purchased locally. Large, nationally connected materials suppliers established temporary satellite facilities to support construction. Some of these facilities became permanent.

Large regional real estate companies moved in and displaced local realtors. Virtually all labor and materials were imported – primarily from Denver and Salt Lake City. Family owned contracting and building supply businesses disappeared. The only new jobs created in Aspen were cleaning toilets, and changing bed sheets. Taxes increased exponentially to support the new residents’ service and infrastructure demands. The cost of everything from a loaf of bread, to housing, soared. Third generation residents, who could no longer afford to live in Aspen, had to move elsewhere. The bitterness lingers, even today.

Bayfield County could suffer a similar fate.

Don’t be fooled by this Minneapolis Developer’s disingenuous job creation claims. Shadow Wood Landing and Stratosphere Airport will negatively impact local farms, local businesses, and our overall quality of life.