Housing, short-term rentals, business development, shoreline treatment will be discussed
What can be done during the next 10 years to improve the quality of life in the Town of Baileys Harbor and to enhance and preserve what the town has to offer?
Baileys Harbor Planning Commission members want residents, property owners, business operators and other stakeholders to participate in revising the town’s comprehensive plan, but they can’t delay the discussions until people can gather safely to discuss the future, said Dr. Tim Tishler, Planning Commission chair.
The first comprehensive-plan discussion – to be held online – is set for Dec. 7, 6 pm, when participants can share comments through a chat function. The town website (baileysharborwi.org) will provide the Zoom link to the meeting when the commission’s agenda is posted. Topics likely to arise during the coming months include the proliferation of short-term rentals, keeping the size of downtown buildings in check and a call for more affordable housing for both service workers and longtime residents.
Tishler said the inventory of real estate listings has been shrinking, and real estate prices and construction costs have been higher since the last time the comprehensive-plan revisions were adopted in 2013. At that time, the country was still emerging from the Great Recession, and Tishler said real estate prices had hit a plateau. That version of the comprehensive plan stated that “not much has changed” during a 12-year period.
But “a lot has changed in the past nine years,” Tishler said. He also noted that although Baileys Harbor’s tourism business has been booming at times and the brewery has been a major draw downtown, the town has lost its hardware store and a bank during the past few years.
Personally, Tishler said he wishes rural and downtown Baileys Harbor would maintain their charm and character, and he has a sincere stake in the future of the town.
“Next year, my family will have lived in Baileys Harbor for 100 years,” he said.
The first meeting will deal with land use, including residential planning and public, commercial and agricultural land.
The commission has not yet determined which portions of the comprehensive plan it will review from month to month, but future topics may include senior housing, bicycle routes and issues related to shoreline access and treatment. Baileys Harbor has more than 30 miles of shoreline, Tishler said, including the downtown frontage, plus the points and bays along Lake Michigan to the north and Kangaroo Lake to the south.
Find the old comprehensive plan at baileysharborwi.org/resources/smart-growth. Tishler said the goal of the Dec. 7 discussion is to focus on pages 43-62.