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Eagles Landing Resort latest to become PUD

Eagles Landing Resort is the latest family-owned and operated resort to be converted to a Planned Unit Development. It's located on 5th Crow Wing Lake. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Another one bites the dust.

Eagles Landing Resort on 5th Crow Wing Lake will become a residential Planned Unit Development after the Hubbard County Board of Commissioners gave the plan a terse approval following a heated discussion Wednesday.

Owners Dan and Donna Rehkamp said the resort is simply too much work to keep up. They will sell off the cabins and lots individually.

Part of the resort burned in 2003. Rehkamps bought it in 2005, built one new cabin that they live in, and did renovations on the remaining five. Their plan entails a four-tier PUD on 21 acres of land with five additional structures being built. But with only three of the cabins on the lakeshore tier, Dan Rehkamp was requesting the board approve 11 boat slips, which would violate the law.

The Conditional Use Permit and preliminary plat application passed the Hubbard County Planning Commission, with county board member Don Carlson voting against the CUP. He sits on both boards.

"It's a pretty good plan but the docks are against the ordinance," Carlson said. "If we don't follow the laws and make capricious judgments as to what's happening, not all people are being treated equally."

Board chair Lyle Robinson seemed particularly incensed that the Planning Commission had approved the illegal dock slips, then passed the recommendation on to the county board to rubber stamp, with the added approval of the Environmental Services Office.

"You put us in a squeeze," Robinson told Environmental Services Officer Eric Buitenwerf. "We took an oath to uphold the ordinances."

Buitenwerf said allowing extra dock space for PUDs "has been done in the past."

"If we're not going to follow the guidelines for goodness sake let's change it," Robinson said. "If we're going to make individual rules for everyone that comes in what are the ordinances for? Just because you got by with it in the past doesn't mean you'll get by with it in the future.

"To me it should go before the variance board," Robinson continued. "They have the right to vary from the law. We don't. "

He chided both the Planning Commission and Buitenwerf for ignoring the ordinance and placing the monkey on the county's back.

The ordinance says a boat slip can be provided for each first-tier home and a single one for all the remaining tiers. The reason is that it will minimize the negative impact on the lake with multiple boats being moored in a small area.

But the fourth dock would be used as a public access for the remaining cabin owners, who would be forced to launch and pull their boats daily.

"That will have a much bigger impact on the lake," commissioner Greg Larson said to unanimous nods of agreement.

The Eagles Landing has 325 feet of lakeshore and a wetland area adjacent to it.

The board passed the request allowing four docks, not 11, and recommended Rehkamps go before the Board of Adjustment for a variance to install the others. County board members even voted to write a letter in support of the variance.

Ernie and Linda Strong, owners of the Royal Star resort on 6th Crow Wing, watched the board proceedings with interest.

"We don't object to the PUD," Linda Strong said. "We actually favor it. But the rule is the rule."

The Strongs said the PUD or Rehkamps can apply "for dock space as needed," but the county board doesn't have the authority to tailor the ordinance to a single request.

"Otherwise they'd have to go back and re-do all the PUDs," Linda Strong said. "The board did the right thing."

Dan Rehkamp said Eagles Landing was on the market for two years. One interested buyer was unable to obtain financing. The resort actually sat empty for two years before Rehkamps purchased it, he said.

He admitted it's been tough times for family owned and operated resorts.

"The economy went so deep people just quit doing everything," he said. "We were hoping to get people who wanted to stay closer to home but still go to a resort, but that isn't happening."

"Common Interest Communities" are springing up throughout Hubbard County as either new developments of PUDs converted from older resorts.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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