Weather Forecast


BOA okays second Grace Lake house proposal

By Sarah Smith

If at first you don’t succeed…come back to the Hubbard County Board of Adjustment in one year’s time.

That might be the advice Barry Royce could give to a Garfield Lake father and son who left Monday’s meeting empty-handed.

So did Royce and wife Lisa one year ago.

Royces proposed major renovations and a garage on their tiny Grace Lake lot in 2012 and got turned down flat.

Monday Barry Royce was back with a moderate proposal to build a winterized house, remove the out-buildings and forego the garage.

The 2012 proposal was simply too much, the board determined last year. This time the Royces moved the structure back from the lake, scaled down the construction a bit, proposed a new septic system and decided to forego a garage.

Most importantly, the couple reduced the amount of impervious surfaces the BOA had objected to last year with a shed and other outbuildings removed. Last year board members saw one huge roof carrying water directly into the lake.

The current proposal doesn’t exceed the 25 percent impervious surface threshold for the lot.

“I see it as a positive,” member Tim Johnson said of the revised plans.

Although member Charlene Christenson was leery of the couple not needing a garage, Barry Royce assured her, with a nod to last year, that he’d learned his lesson.

“We could build a tuck-under garage,” he suggested to equally leery glances from the board.

“You turned me down last year,” Royce said. “I would have no expectations that it would pass” in the future.

The new proposal was approved 5-0. At least one shed will be moved across the road and Royces will negotiate with neighbors for additional land across the highway, maybe building a garage eventually.

In other action, the Board:

n Rejected a proposal by Gary and Jeff Spears to build a platform that wouldn’t comply with the 100-foot setback and would hold built-ins for a bar, pizza oven, grill and counter. The Spears previously were approved for a two-story garage in August.

At the time board members wanted specific promises that the building would not be used for sleeping.

The men said the house is too small for all the family.

“It’s about creating more usable space,” Jeff Spears said.

The board denied the request, contending the men could meet the 100-foot setback in other ways.

“The application states that there is a 34’ wide area where the platform could be constructed and meet all setback requirements,” said staff recommendations prepared by the Environmental Services Office.

The men left confused and angry, contending they had presented what they believed to be a reasonable proposal.

n Approved a proposal by the Stell Cottage Irrevocable Land Trust to add a second story with two bedrooms and a bathroom onto the Big Mantrap Lake cabin. The cabin is in Thorpe Township, which has its own zoning and granted a separate variance for the project.

The request was approved because the addition went up instead of out. It didn’t enlarge the footprint and didn’t add to the impervious surface, Christensen said in making one of several motions for the day.

n Granted a variance request from Michael and Julie Marino to amend a portion of their roofline on their Grace Lake cabin. It would change a shed roof to a gabled one.

n Granted a conditional variance to Run Away Bay Lodge Beach Owners Association on Lake Belle Taine to replace several railroad tie retaining walls with boulders to shore up a slope. The landscaping project would exceed the permittable threshold for grading and filling projects in the shore impact zone.

The BOA has approved most of the requests to remove railroad ties because of the creosote that leaches into the groundwater.

BOA member Ken Grob sat in the audience. Normally he would be at the board table. But he was hunting when other members conducted the lot viewings. Under the rules, he was then ineligible to vote so a replacement sat in for him.

Grob said he had a hard time hearing the proceedings and welcomed a more acoustically equipped board room in the future. He said his hearing aids were turned up to the maximum volume, yet he struggled to hear much of the proceedings.

Sarah Smith

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

(218) 732-3364