Wis. AG settles with property owner

Bryan Cohen Jun. 28, 2011, 9:44am

Van Hollen

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced on Tuesday that his office has reached a settlement with a Shorewood Hills, Wis., property owner over allegedly unlawful construction.

The civil environmental prosecution was brought against William Haus, Bauer & Raether Builders Inc., and D.L. Anderson's Lakeside Leisure Co. Inc. for the construction of a three-story lake access structure on the bed of Lake Mendota along a cliff beside the home of Haus.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources alleges that the house was in violation of a state law prohibiting the placement of fill material or structures on the state-owned bed of a lake without obtaining a permit from the DNR.

In Wisconsin, the bed of a lake is deemed to be all land beneath the waters of the lake and up the shore to the elevation of the lake's "ordinary high-water mark."

Van Hollen alleged that in summer 2009, Haus built a three-story lake-access structure with various platforms and stairways supported by four steel columns set on top of a concrete pad that had been built in large part upon the bed of Lake Mendota without a permit.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Haus must remove the concrete pad, the steel columns that rest on it and the underlying concrete grout from the lake shore by November 30. Haus must also "naturalize" the crushed rock pad now underlying the concrete by digging water filled inlets into it to enhance its value for wildlife and suspend the shore access structure from the stone cliff by the use of steel beams, rather than supporting it on the bed of Lake Mendota. Additionally, Haus must pay a total of $13,000 in penalties, surcharges and fees to the state.

Haus has agreed to take steps to restore the lakeshore environment. Van Hollen had previously settled claims against Haus's contractor and subcontractor, Bauer & Raether Buildings Inc., and D.L. Anderson's Lakeside Leisure Co. Inc., and the case is now concluded.

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