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Board of Adjustment approves one, denies one variance

BY Anna Erickson

The Hubbard County Board of Adjustment approved one variance and denied another at its Monday meeting.

The first variance request was by Gary Johnson, who has a cabin on Kabekona Lake.

He is requesting a variance for a proposed addition that is greater than 50 percent of the current square footage. The current structure is 845 square feet and he is proposing an addition of 516 feet.

It is also 70 feet from the shoreline, which is less than the 100-foot ordinary high water mark setback.

The request is to make an addition to the side of a nonconforming cabin built prior to enactment of the ordinance located at a 70 foot OHW setback per the application. The addition will be the same height as the existing cabin and its square footage relative to the existing structure footprint constitutes a 61 percent proposed size increase. No new bedrooms are proposed so the existing compliant sewer system is properly sized to accommodate the proposed addition.

Board of Adjustments didn’t have an issue with the proposed variance for the most part.

Board member Tim Johnson said he liked the proposal and it seemed to make sense.

“We’re not trying to make it huge,” Gary Johnson said of his request. “We like the quaintness of it.”

Along with the addition, a lakeside platform is also being proposed. The platform encroaches 10’ further toward the lake than the existing cabin and is proposed to consist of a 10’ x 11’ primary use area and a 20’ x 4’ 6” attached walkway. The platform is included in the variance request because it will not be constructed prior to the addition – if the addition is allowed.

The Land Records-Environmental Services department recommended approval of the request because the structure, even with the addition, is still reasonable in size, the addition is to the side of the cabin and angled away from the lake, and the platform could be constructed by permit if such was done prior to a permit being issued for the addition if the variance for the addition is approved.

Board member Ken Grob recommended approval of the addition with the condition that the two lots are kept under common ownership and the current undeveloped lot would remain undeveloped.

The Board of Adjustment denied a second variance request from Tim and Deb Skadberg.

They were requesting additional campsites on a resort on Lake Ida that would have exceeded the allowed rental unit density.

This property is historically known as Walter’s Resort. The resort use predated the ordinance and was a nonconforming use, according to staff reports.

The use was discontinued for a period of greater than 12 consecutive months so any use of the property from this point forward must be a conforming use per Section 703 of the shoreland ordinance.

The applicants also intend to apply for a Conditional Use Permit to operate the property as a resort, but they want to rent out all of the historic cabins and campsites, which exceeds the allowed Tier 1 rental unit density. A variance from the rental unit density requirement must be obtained before a CUP application can be submitted for consideration.

The application proposed to rent seven cabins and six campsites for a total of 13 units.

The allowed rental unit density is nine units.

Grob said that the request for four additional units seemed like a lot for a small lake.

The department recommended denial of the application because the difficulty appeared to be solely economic and caused by the landowners not researching the property’s zoning status prior to purchasing the property.

Lake Ida is also very small and having an additional four rental units using the lake via recreational watercraft usage, fishing, etc. would apply noticeable pressure to the lake that it does not have much capacity to support and absorb, staff reports said.

The board unanimously denied the request.