Proposed plans for widening, paving and curbing for water control on Peterson Road were shelved following a Zoom appearance by Patricia Roszkowski at St. Germain’s Dec. 10 special town board meeting. 

Roszkowski owns the last piece of property, adjacent to state land, at 7681 Peterson Road. All of the properties on Peterson are bisected by the proposed road project. 

Roszkowski’s property and Stella Lake home, adjacent to the lake, uses a septic field on the north side of current gravel road. She expressed concerns about costs that will be incurred by moving two yard lights, a gate, as well as potential runoff water damaging property she has shored up to prevent damage to her home and the future of her septic field.

Roszkowski indicated that she is handicapped and requires a night light in front of her home and a stable driveway surface. It appears that some of the new paved road and widening to town standards would encroach on her present drive.

The Peterson Road project originally came in front of the board on July 22, when Sharon Vonasek, a Peterson Road property owner presented a petition from property owners identifying issues with the gravel road residents felt needed to be corrected. 

Property owners had not taken into account that bringing the road up to town standards would mean removal of trees and widening the road for snow plowing and emergency vehicles to access the homes in an emergency.

At the special town board meeting of Aug. 20, Jim Vonasek, also a property owner on Peterson Road, informed the board that all owners were in favor of having the work done.

In August 2020, MSA Professional Services of Rhinelander provided a $30,000 estimate for engineering work on Peterson Road which was tabled until a more firm bid of $35,000 was received and accepted. At the December meeting it was learned that an additional $12,000 price tag was accepted for title work, paid for from the town’s carryover.

Blacktop is estimated at $350,000 and will have to be paid for with a future loan.

Phil Kriesel of MSA assured the town that drainage and other issues raised by Roszkowski would be handled in a satisfactory way. He also stated that the Peterson project would be the most costly road project undertaken by St. Germain on a cost per lineal foot basis.

The road is a town road, however, questions about a lakeside easement and one property owner having built a garage in the right of way, plague the project. Kriesel explained that procedures for recording deeds and easements dating into the 1920s were different and have become difficult to locate or interpret.

The project was put on hold until easement issues can be understood and addressed.

Wildfire committee

Supervisor Brian Cooper was appointed to head up the new Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP) wildfire committee at the Nov. 24 meeting of the board. 

This was the second time the board accepted joining the plan, but on Dec. 10, Cooper asked the board to rescind the resolution passed unanimously on Nov. 24. He stated that he was disappointed there would be no grant funds available from the town to help defray expenses of chipping yard waste in the town facility on Forest Lane. 

At the meeting on Nov. 24, Laura Hayes, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), presented Wildland Urban Interface, an introduction to CWPP in which the St. Germain Town Board had already resolved to join. She included a message about the serious risk St. Germain faces from wildfires started by such things as neighbors burning trash or yard waste, lightning and other causes.

Hayes also explained grant programs for towns to have curbside chipping. Neighborhoods would be contacted and encouraged to put yard waste at the curb for town crews to chip and shred the material before taking it to the yard waste site.

Funds for education are also available so that residents can be appraised of the importance of tree clearance from driveways and the clean up of dead trees and brush. The goal is to help reduce flammability and save homes and ultimately lives should a wildfire break out within the town.

Locations with higher population density were encouraged to take part in the education and clean up projects. Lake shore development is generally considered to have a higher density population and is therefore at a greater risk.

Other towns in Vilas County have already joined the program because they are generally considered high risk for wildfire areas. The town would also benefit from being given priority funding for prevention and restoration.

Cooper’s motion to rescind membership in the CWPP, seconded by Supervisor Tim Clark, was passed unanimously.

Snowmobile routes

St. Germain approved routes for grooming in the upcoming snowmobile season. The routes include some trails in St. Germain which are shared by the Sayner Barnstormers Snowmobile Club. While routes and trails for riding have not changed, visitors are encouraged to obtain trail maps from local businesses or the clubs themselves.

The next town board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. in the community center board room and on the Zoom platform.