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HC BOA enacts one more hurdle to variance process

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HC BOA enacts one more hurdle to variance process
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

BY Sarah smith

Board of Adjustment members erected an additional hurdle to variance requests Monday when homeowners want permission to encroach on shoreline setback.


In the past, conditions members attach to such requests to mitigate runoff have been a “gentlemen’s agreement” in which the homeowner verbally agrees to plant vegetation or take steps to lessen the impact of a building project on a lake such as building a rain garden.

Monday that all changed when board members conditioned issuing of a variance on formal approval of the lakescaping and type of vegetation to be used beforehand by Hubbard County’s Environmental Services Office.

No approval, no permit.

The change in protocol occurred when John and Sanja Wallace requested permission to construct a 352-square foot deck on their Lake George cabin that would be 63 feet from the lake’s ordinary high water mark.

The deck would be in front of a home constructed after a 2010 variance was issued.

Sanja Wallace said the couple was looking into “natural Minnesota prairie grasses so there would be no degradation of the shoreline.”

Board members kept pressing.

“You should work with a professional to add a new buffer,” member Char Christensen said after conditioning the request on leaving an existing buffer intact and building on to it.

“It would be helpful to have the species and quantities defined,” Environmental Services Officer Eric Buitenwerf suggested.

Member Ken Grob conditioned approval on getting a professional to “identify natural prairie grasses and the Envirionmental Services Office has to approve them before issuing a permit.”

Sanja Wallace agreed but walked away confused as to whether she needed to appear before the board again once that was accomplished. She didn’t need to.

In other business, the board:

n Denied 4-1 a request by John Anderson’s agent to construct a garage on his Lake Belle Taine lot that didn’t comply with the 10-foot side lot line setback. The board reasoned Anderson had room to place the garage elsewhere on the lot.

Anderson’s contractor said there was limited room on the lot to get construction equipment to the site without driving over the neighbors’ property.

“To grant the variance is not the solution right now,” Christensen said.

Grob was the dissenting vote.

n Approved 5-0 a variance by James and Jean Scheuring to add a screened in porch to a home that was originally constructed by a variance in 1995 on Long Lake.

n Approved 5-0 a request by Todd and Kristie Griffin and Mike and Missy Dube to add a first floor addition to their Big Sand Lake cabin along with a second floor loft. The reason for the variance was that the house was considered non-conforming even though it’s 130 feet from the lake.

n Approved 5-0 a variance request by Steve and Phyllis Trutna to replace an existing residential structure with a new one on Little Sand Lake. Christensen commended the couple for moving the structure back to the furthest point away from the lake, to 75 feet. It now sits 40 feet from the water’s edge.

n Approved 5-0 a request by Harley Hanson to enlarge a nonconforming residential structure on Island Lake that sits 84 feet from the water. To condition the request on moving the original cabin out of the shore impact zone was unreasonable, the board determined. The family compound is situated on 230 feet of shoreline.

n Approved 5-0 a request by Paul and Jodi Kjolhaug to add a screened in porch and a rear deck to their Lake Hattie home. The couple was granted a 2010 variance for the deck and the addition was less than 50 percent the size of the original.

n Tabled a request by James and Paula Driessen to build a new residence on their Island Lake lot that would not comply with the 100-foot ordinary high water mark.

The board suggested the couple modify the cabin location and shape and return next month.

That way the couple could avoid the cost of applying for a second variance, board chair Lou Schwindt suggested.

Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
(218) 732-3364