Power lines, cement plant and Highway 8

Highway 8 has long been a concern for residents. With increasing traffic volume, turn-offs to many south side Deer Lake roads can be hazardous. Local papers report almost weekly accidents along Highway 8 from St. Croix Falls to past Deer Lake. The state of Wisconsin mandated a safety study of the highway in 2000. Deer Lake residents focused attention on the section of Highway 8 between Highways 35 and 53 and the proposed widening to four lanes. At issue was the location of the highway: using the existing corridor or moving the highway about 1000 feet south and using the existing Highway 8 as a frontage road. Many residents wrote letters, attended meetings and lobbied urging that the existing highway should not be widened. The decision has been made to move the road south which will increase safety, decrease traffic noise, and decrease pollution into the lake.

The DLIA opposed the construction of a cement plant on Highway 35, less than one mile north of Deer Lake and within watershed 5. The Conservancy joined the Association in opposition to the proposed plant. In 2005, the Bauerly Brothers Concrete Company had applied for a special exemption to the zoning ordinance of St. Croix Falls to build and operate a redi-mix plant. Concerns about the plant centered on: “1) potential depletion of the aquifer supplying drinking water to residences, 2) potential chemical run-off and leaching into the Deer Lake watershed, 3) potential noise and air pollution, 4) highway safety issues, including truck traffic” (Deer Tales, Fall 2005). The planning commission and town board approved the special exemption. The DLIA and Conservancy both voiced concerns about the process of approval for special exemptions and also about compliance with the open meeting law. In April of 2008, Judge Rasmussen ruled the special exemption to be null and void. Consistent and vigorous opposition by many Deer Lake residents achieved their goal—no concrete plant will be built at this time.