Letter to the Editor:

Our Eagle River community is being challenged like never before, related to the potential development of 154 new housing units on the former Lake Forest golf property.

This development approval was originally granted some 17 years ago for slightly fewer units. Shouldn’t development approvals have a formal “statute of limitations” so that if a proposed/approved development is not built within a specific time period — say five to seven years — it becomes invalid?

Any subsequent approval would require a new, full environmental impact report, especially related to traffic, infrastructure needs, septic systems, new challenges to nature, tree cutting, etc.

The world can change a lot in 20 years — new organizations like Vacasa, Vrbo, Airbnb have changed the landscape for rental properties; climate change has changed our environment; traffic and noise will change dramatically on both Eagle Waters Road and Rangeline Road (the two access roads); new technology has changed the use of the lakes (think of the challenges heavy wakeboard boats are having on the bottom and shorelines of our shallow, “fragile” lakes) ... So to ignore these developments for previously granted approvals is both naive and unsophisticated.

The Vilas County Zoning Commission has indicated that this development does comply with the original approval, although I believe a current environmental impact is warranted. Shouldn’t the county and the town of Washington empower a local task force to review this development and fully study its environmental impact?

The Eagle River community does not want to become the next Wisconsin Dells or Lake Geneva, where tourism, traffic, noise and developments have ruined those communities. We must do something now — it’s time to act!

Steve Burrill

Eagle River