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Lake residents oppose subdivision

Helen Marsh's home sits just off Jack Pine Lane. Widening the roadway to 33 feet would nearly put traffic through her living room, she told the Hubbard County Board of Adjustment Monday. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)1 / 2
Jack Pine Lane is a scenic, narrow roadway that winds along a north bay of Big Mantrap Lake. Residents fear a proposed subdivision would result in widening the lane, from about 10 feet to 33 feet. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)2 / 2

People who live on what they consider to be pristine wilderness lakes, regardless of their official designation as recreational waters, are sensitive to changes they feel threaten the status quo.

Such was the case at Monday's Board of Adjustment meeting when homeowners on Big Mantrap Lake opposed a plan to subdivide 12 acres of wooded land into two separate lots.

For resident Bill Moore, the idea of putting one more home in the vicinity was objectionable.

"I'm just trying to slow down development on the lake," Moore said.

But for the Jack Pine Lane property owners represented by Helen Marsh, it was the proposed 33-foot easement across their properties that was problematic.

"We can't have a road any wider than it is," Marsh told the board. She said widening the roadway would basically put traffic outside her doorstep.

"A 33-foot easement right-of-way doesn't mean you make the road 33 feet wide," said Environmental Service Officer Eric Buitenwerf.

The board grappled with sending the request back to Thorpe Township to determine access to the property Michael and Lisa Reinhart want to subdivide.

Board member Lou Schwindt struggled with that option.

"We're sending 'em back to the township to force the landowners to accept a 33-foot easement," he said, adding "How are you denying him from splitting this property? He's got 12 acres and 1,200 feet of shoreline."

Moving the road to give the new owner access would be impractical since a tamarac forest in a swamp borders the property, the board was told.

Board members tabled the issue to determine if there is an existing easement on the Reinhart property's deed, but suggested the objecting homeowners may not be framing their opposition correctly.

"This has nothing to do with Jack Pine Lane," said board member Jerry Cole. "The easement just has to do with this property only."

Marsh said there was no mistake. "Reinhart said in order for him to sell (a subdivided piece) he had to have a 33-foot wide roadway" by county ordinance, she told the board. "We can't have a 33-foot wide road."

Besides Marsh, other properties closely border Jack Pine Lane, turf so rugged rural postal carriers no longer venture down it. Homeowners have to pick up their mail at the lane's entrance off Junco Drive. The roadway, 10 feet wide winding through the trees, has room for single lane traffic only.

"We all built our homes with that existing road," Marsh pointed out when the contractor suggested the new homeowners would need wider access to get trucks into the area.

The subdivision is likely to be approved once proof of an easement exists.

The board heard 16 other cases Monday, including:

Approved variances

-Craig and Melanie Nybo were allowed to put a paver stone platform on the lakeside wall of their Lake Belle Taine home and fill behind it to slow runoff and fill a dip in their yard. Craig Nybo was instructed at a prior BOA meeting to consult the Soil and Water Conservation District for expertise in solving the drainage into the lake. When the Board of Adjustment seemed reluctant to follow the SWDC suggestions, Craig Nybo expressed some frustration that he was being given the run-around. The board relented on the condition that he try to contain runoff from his rooftops either with a rain garden, vegetation or rerouting the downspouts.

-A revamped plan by Thomas Horsager for a new cabin on Long Lake got the go-ahead. The new structure will be out of the bluff impact zone and even though it exceeds the 25 percent allowable runoff from impervious surfaces, "80 percent of the water runs to the back of the lot, not the lake," said board member Earl Benson, in voting for the variance.

-Allowed Jerome and Corliss Noel a 14-by-20-foot addition to the entryway and kitchen on the roadside of their Duck Lake cabin, already located in a bluff impact zone.

-Allowed an addition by Mark Capouch and a new roof on his Big Wolf Lake guest cabin, exceeding the maximum allowable 25 percent impervious surface area.

-Allowed an addition by Keith and Dee Ann Grove on their Beachwood Estates home on Island Lake because the homeowners maintain the cabin is sinking.

-Allowed a two-story garage addition for Walter and Renee Johnson to put on their Lake Belle Taine home that did not meet the 100-foot ordinary high water mark structure setback for the lake. However, the lake's high water mark was reset many years ago when the lake levels rose so dangerously the county considered many drainage options. None needed implementing when the lake level lowered of its own accord.

-Allowed Kimberly Kangas to put a septic system holding tank on her Long Lake home, replacing an outhouse.

-Allowed a small two-bedroom addition for Denns Tronstad and Judy Christensen to put on their Nagel Lake home.

-Allowed David and Janet Jordan to replace their Long Lake home 66 feet from the lake, replacing a structure that sat 50 feet off the lake.

-Allowed Jan Ingstad an addition onto her Big Sand Lake home, conditioned on her removing a platform deck that juts out from the home to within 30 feet of the water's edge. The board allowed her to place a new deck alongside the addition, no closer to the lakeshore than the cabin will be.

-Allowed Mark and Patricia Van Horne to build a new 866-square foot cabin on a 50-fot lot of Big Mantrap Lake, replacing a 440-square foot structure built in 1920.

-Allowed Charles and Gail Sheridan to build a two-story addition on their Spider Lake cabin, greater than the 50 percent allowable addition.

-Allowed Ole and Connie Jallo a detached garage addition on their 3rd Crow Wing Lake home.

After the fact violations

-Tabled a request by the Larry Stauss family, as Rocky Mountain Grads LLP, to approve a 10-foot wide asphalt roadway paved when a 6-foot wide rock drive continually washed downhill. The board had no problem with the road since a previous variance allowing the 6-foot cartway had not worked. But since Stauss hadn't taken care of drainage and erosion issues remaining from the previous variance, the owner was given 30 days to devise a plan that would be in compliance with the first variance request.

-Allowed a new cabin and garage belonging to Minneapolis-based R&I Jackson LLC to remain 80 feet from the Schoolcraft River. Owner Steven Anderson said he thought he could build in the old footprint, not relocate the new structure 150 feet from the riverbank.

"I don't think it would serve the interest of justice to make him move this back," Bensons said.

-Allowed Dennis and Laurie Bergstrom permission in locating their sewer line underneath their garage, allow a non-permitted garage to remain on the couple's Spider Lake property because of a mistake the builders made in obtaining the permit and will allow 33.75 percent impervious surfaces if the homeowners devise an acceptable solution to collecting runoff and rain water.