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MADISON - Two Oneida County landowners who disturbed a Native American burial site on the shores of Lake Nokomis when they commenced the construction of a home must remove the foundation, restore the site, and pay penalties, assessments and costs totaling $16,750 for the violations. The case, filed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) at the request of the Burial Sites Preservation Board and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), was settled earlier this week in the Oneida County Circuit Court.
Wisconsin law provides that no person may intentionally cause or permit the disturbance of a burial site. According to the complaint, Raymond and Patti Robinson built a home foundation within the designated boundaries of a catalogued burial site. In 1999, the Robinsons were notified by the State Historical Society (SHS) of the presence of the burial site on their property.
Wisconsin law also prohibits the grading of more than 10,000 square feet on the bank of any navigable water without a permit from DNR. According to the complaint, the Robinsons graded more than 10,000 square feet on the banks of navigable water without the required permit, in violation of the law.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the Robinsons will remove the house foundation and restore the burial site, to the extent possible, in accordance with a plan prepared by the SHS and under the supervision of a qualified archeologist. They will be allowed to rebuild away from the burial site, so long as they do so in compliance with SHS regulations, County zoning requirements, a DNR shore land grading permit, and the SHS site restoration plan. They will also pay penalties, assessments and costs totaling $16,750 for the violations.
In a separate environmental action involving the same property, John J. Schoone Construction, Inc., the Robinsons' contractor, was charged with grading more than 10,000 square feet of shore land without the required DNR permit. The company agreed to pay penalties of $10,000 for its violations.
The settlement was approved August 29 by Oneida County Circuit Court Judge Mark A. Mangerson. Assistant Attorney General Shari Eggleson represented the state.