Round Lake ends boating speed limit for private lake

Round Lake village board members have repealed a nearly 6-year-old ordinance that limited boat speed on a private lake.

Under a staff recommendation agreed to by the village board, property owners along Wooster Lake are now responsible for settling their differences and deciding whether to have no-wake restrictions for the roughly 100-acre body of water.

Located near Route 134, parts of Wooster are within Round Lake, Fox Lake and unincorporated Lake County in Grant Township.

Village trustees voted 6-0 Monday in favor of ending the local law that established the no-wake restrictions for Wooster.

No-wake areas limit boat speed, therefore preventing big waves. Round Lake’s law set a 5 mph limit for Wooster Lake that was more accommodating for passive boating or canoeing, but negated water skiing or being pulled on a tube.

Lake County Board member Bonnie Thomson Carter of Ingleside claimed environmental concerns in asking Round Lake officials to approve the no-wake ordinance for Wooster in September 2005.

Round Lake Mayor James Dietz said the issue remained divisive at Monday’s village board meeting when some speakers who favor power boating on Wooster contended they’ve been harassed by passive recreation supporters.

Dietz said any problems at Wooster are not Round Lake’s responsibility because residents there are not within village boundaries. He supported repeal of Round Lake’s local law.

“We wish people would behave,” Dietz said.

Supporters of Round Lake’s no-wake law for Wooster submitted documents with the village in February. They cited safety and a need to preserve Wooster’s environmental quality among the reasons why the no-wake ordinance should remain.

“Wooster Lake has historically been used for passive boating and recreation,” the no-wake group wrote, “including primarily swimming and fishing.”

On the opposite side, Wooster Lake property owner Kirk Denz has been outspoken against Round Lake’s no-wake restriction. He’s publicly admitted boating at more than 5 mph and creating waves on Wooster.

Denz, an Ingleside resident in unincorporated Lake County, weighed in with a January letter to Round Lake officials asking for a repeal of the ordinance. He called it regulation without representation.

“Our private and rightful lake property is located outside the village,” Denz wrote, “and your village has no zoning authority over our private property. None.”

In a Round Lake staff executive summary on the issue, it was noted a state law now restricts a municipality from exercising zoning power or regulating private lake property use if it’s in an unincorporated area bordering a town.