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Disappointed town rejected right to camp on property PDF Print E-mail

Letter to the Editor:

The Plum Lake Town Board recently denied my previously existing right to camp on my residential property located within the town.

The town board justified the denial apparently (almost entirely) on statements allegedly made by some of my neighbors regarding the supposed conduct of me and my guests who stayed at the property.  These alleged statements were first gathered and then made public at the July 9 town board meeting by town board Chairwoman Diane Briggs.

The July 9 meeting report, which included direct quotes by members of the board that were published in The Lakeland Times, contained inaccurate, unverified and damaging representations about me and my family.

Since July, I have attempted to resolve with Briggs the allegations she made against me.  My attempts have been unsuccessful.  Briggs does not return my phone calls and she repeatedly dodged my direct requests to address this situation in a satis-     factory manner.

On Sept. 10, I attended the Plum Lake Town Board meeting in Sayner in hopes of being able to fully discuss with the town board, and the public, the various allegations made against me by  Briggs.  I had hoped to be able to set the record straight, be allowed to present the facts and reconcile any misunderstandings – however, this was not what I experienced.

Initially, Briggs did not allow me to speak.  She later reluctantly permitted me to address the board only after other board members urged her to do so.  In granting me permission to speak at this public town meeting, Briggs stated that I had “two minutes — and two minutes only” to do so.  Briggs also indicated that she would not allow discussion of the July meeting minutes, despite my concerns that there were statements made which were demeaning and untruthful about my family.

Not wanting to cause any commotion and to respect the board’s wishes, I simply asked permission to be treated as any other property owner who pays taxes and to address my request to set up a tent or camper on my property for special occasions and holidays.

Despite her refusal to allow me to discuss the July 9 meeting minutes, Briggs began quoting from those minutes to humiliate and silence me. My request to camp on my property was denied, again, apparently due to unproven allegations against me. I am amazed and very disappointed at the heavy-handed and dictatorial manner in which Briggs chooses to preside over these open meetings.

As a taxpaying property owner, I am appalled at the way I was treated by a public servant. The hardworking people in the North Woods rely on tourism. My wife, three children and I love coming up for a weekend to visit with friends and family that we frequently invite as our guests. If I were a local business owner, I would be very concerned that a certain faction of the town board seems intent on driving families like mine away.

The next Plum Lake Town Board election is in April 2015 and I suggest that the people of Sayner/Star Lake strongly consider their rights as taxpaying property owners before casting their vote for any elected official.

Curt J. Coyle


Tuesday, September 17, 2013 3:21 PM


-12 #2 Frank Gabl 2013-09-18 12:02

I find it hard to believe that "some" neighbors (not just one lone busybody or enemy) would involve themselves in denying your previously granted right to camp on your "residential" property unless there was good reason to do so.

But that aside, assuming everything you say is entirely accurate, "heavy-handed and dictatorial," then that is exactly what attorneys are for. I know I would want the sweet satisfaction of vindication if I were you.

As a matter of opinion, maybe you should view this as a personal responsibility, to not only end such behavior in your area but to clear your name now that you've brought this to such a public forum.
-5 #1 2013-09-17 16:48
Welcome to the world of owning something that you don't really own.

There are numerous examples of this sort of behavior all across this country from people who own property on tributaries or waterways, to the garden in your backyard.

At least in the town of Sugar Camp, the board doesn't really care what you do with your own property. One of the benefits to having a non-zoned community, and a board that is in favor of that. I can raise my family, horses, and crops however I choose.

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