North Lake public access site clears legal hurdle
By Darryl Enriquez of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Jun. 1, 2009
Waukesha - The last legal hurdle to the installation of a state-controlled public boat launch on North Lake was cleared Monday.
A circuit judge threw out a property owner's challenge of the public's right to use a roadway that connects the launch to a nearby road.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge Ralph Ramirez granted the state's request to dismiss a lawsuit questioning whether the state Department of Natural Resources had a right to direct fishermen and their boats and trailers across a small section of property that makes up the roadway.
The DNR began efforts to establish a boat launch in 2005. Progress has been delayed because of legal issues brought by residents opposed to placing the boat launch on the residential west side of the lake, located in the Town of Merton in north-central Waukesha County.
Ramirez said documents for the disputed property revealed nothing prohibiting any use of the road.
North Lake is the last large body of water in the area without a state-operated boat launch. DNR officials say they will proceed with building a $1.3 million launch, 17-space parking area and fishing pier off Reddelien Road.
The North Lake Management District wants the DNR to build a launch on a northeast peninsula of the lake near the Highway 83 commercial district.
The DNR has rejected that site, saying it's too shallow and silt-filled to provide proper boating access to the lake. The Oconomowoc River flows into North Lake and deposits silt there. The North Lake Management District has committed to spending thousands of dollars to dredge a channel at the site so boats could get to deep water.
DNR officials could not say when launch construction would begin other than this summer.