Village Board to Consider Re-Erecting Atwater Beach Security Fence
Two years after the village removed fencing, it will consider replacing it after Lake Drive residents complained of trespassers onto their private beaches.
The Shorewood Village Board will consider whether to approve re-erecting a security fence along either side of Atwater Beach, to stop trespassers from entering privately-owned beaches, at its next meeting Monday, 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall, 3930 N. Murray Ave.
After Shorewood's Park Commission approved removing the fence in 2009, citing a special interest group's concern that the ugly chain-linked fence ruined the beach, Lake Drive residents started complaining of trespassers.
Residents said underage drinking, drug use, littering, broken glass and syringes, theft, unattended fires and vandalism were spilling onto their private land after the fence, deterring beach-goers from venturing pass the boundaries of Atwater Beach and onto private beaches, was removed. At a January meeting on the fence issue, one homeowner called fires, kids having sex and drugs and alcohol on the beach an everyday occurrence.
Estimates have the fence cost ranging from $9,000 to $15,000, according to the meeting agenda. The village wouldn’t exceed $15,000.
The village was initially unsure whether it could get approval to put the fencing back up, mainly from agencies that typically have jurisdiction over placing fencing on public beach property. The village talked with the Department of Natural Resources and Army Corps of Engineering, and both said if the fence was placed above the ordinary high water mark, or where the water typically doesn't go beyond, then the village was free to install a fence.
The DNR will not assist the village in determining the high water mark, but rather the village will use historical knowledge and experts to determine its location.
However, a new fence will have to act as a deterrent rather than an actual physical barrier, because the high water mark is not at the water's edge, so beachgoers can simply walk around the fence to venture onto private property.