Summer sheep could be coming to Sunburst Ski Hill
Grazing and food truck plans forwarded to Town Board

By Brianna Stubler

April 17, 2019

TOWN OF KEWASKUM — Sunburst Ski Hill may get some surprise summer visitors and tasty treats if the final plans are approved next month. In this week’s Town of Kewaskum meetings, the proposals for both sheep grazing and food trucks were discussed and given the go-ahead from town officials.

First in the Plan Commission meeting and then in the Town Board meeting, members discussed a request to rezone Sunburst to allow for these animals and mobile food.

Friedel Ski Ventures would take advantage of the ski hill’s summer off-season, when maintenance varies from snow upkeep to extensive lawn care. A local sheep owner approached the board roughly eight months ago with a solution, according to Town Treasurer Daniel Stifle.

“There’s a gentleman who has some sheep and was looking for areas to graze them, and since the ski hill has to spend money, time and fuel mowing grass in the summer, they thought it would a better option,” Stifle said. “Since that is zoned in the park category, they needed permission to do that.”

Town Clerk Holly Knock explained the grazing process, which would have to adhere to specific guidelines that, if passed, would amend the pre-existing ordinance.

“The sheep will be rotated on the hill and it’s not like it would be covered with them — it’s honestly just to maintain the hill itself and I think it’s fairly harmless,” Knock said. Other companies have adopted similar methods, she said, including a golf course. “It’s a way to keep the grass fertilized as well as being a natural way to keep it healthy,” she said.

She also detailed the request to rezone for food trucks, which was introduced separately in a January hearing but has been included together with the sheep proposition, since both would require an amendment to town ordinances.

“They want to be able to have food trucks for events, but it would not be many, only for the hours they’re open and they would not be doing it in the parking lot, it would be off the path a little bit,” Knock said. “This would just be an additional resource for them.”

During this month’s Plan Commission meeting, there was not a lengthy discussion surrounding the issue, Knock said. Members were in favor of both rezoning requests and sent them on to the board, where they were explained for those members without any opposition and set for a public hearing and a vote. Receiving board approval for both requests was important, as it moved them one step closer to finalization, which could come with May’s meeting.

“Obviously there was no opposition from the Town Board, so you can never say never but they took a major step in moving forward on those,” Stifle said.

But the community members may be a different story. It could be good business for both the ski hill, the farmer and local service providers, but residents may present strong arguments against its final approval.

“We’ll see at the public hearing, because that’s when the neighbors weigh in,” Stifle said. “It could bring some issues when it is brought up next month. It’s kind of an odd issue, so who knows what direction it may go.”

After community members share their opinions, the Town Board will vote on both rezoning proposals.

“They always take into account what the residents have to say about it, but at this point we don’t see why they would have any objection to it,” Knock said.