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Board of Adjustment denies Lake Belle Taine variance

The Hubbard County Board of Adjustment is under new leadership.

Longtime member Lou Schwindt has resumed chairmanship, taking over from Charles "Chick" Knight.

Board member Jerry Cole has assumed the vice chair duties. The board changes its top spots annually.

And Schwindt's leadership may signal a new direction for the variance board, which has come under fire lately and is now the subject of a lawsuit over a variance granted last month.

The board quickly denied a request for a Lake Belle Taine couple to enlarge a guest cabin by less than 50 percent because the structure is in the shore impact zone.

Under Knight's leadership, the board might have considered granting the expansion conditioned on Gary and Linda Nicklason moving the structure back to a 100-foot setback.

Schwindt quickly urged an outright denial. If the Nicklasons want to move the structure out of the shore impact zone and add on, they can do that without a variance, he pointed out.

"There's no hardship or practical difficulty to moving it," said board member Earl Benson.

A neighbor of Nicklasons said he had no objection to the original plan and chastised the board for trespassing on his property. He suggested the board get correct addresses before it embarks on site visitations.

In other action, the board:

n Approved a variance for Ryan Anderson to build a new residence and lakeside deck at less than the 100 foot setback on Big LaSalle Lake. The board also approved Anderson placing a septic system in the bluff impact zone.

"It's the only possible location," said Environmental Services Officer Eric Buitenwerf. It's something we're administratively unable to approve so that's why it's in the variance application."

"There's a topography problem" with the lot, Schwindt agreed. "There's no way of getting out of it or doing anything else."

Anderson will tear down both his boathouse and cabin to make way for the new structure.

n Approved a variance on Spider Lake for Ed and Maureen Waltman to place a three-season porch addition to a nonconforming residence. The porch will only set back from the bluff 21-24 feet, instead of 30.

"It ties the porch to the cabin and the rooflines," explained Maureen Waltman.

Ed Waltman said he would use rain barrels to direct runoff away from the lake.

Neighbors on the lake had urged denial of the variance request.

n Approved a variance request by Southwest Developers Inc. to place a deck on a Lake Belle Taine home that will be less than the 100-foot high water mark setback and less than the 50-foot road right-of-way setback.

Cole said construction of County Road 80 parceled many properties "into tiny little lots," leaving homeowners few options to improve their properties.

Sarah Smith

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

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