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After-the-fact requests continue to bother BOA, COLA

By Anna Erickson

The Hubbard County Board of Adjustment was once again faced with an after-the-fact variance.

Terry Nelson, who has a home on 3rd Crow Wing Lake, approached the board Monday seeking an after-the-fact variance inside the bluff impact zone.

He had installed a paver patio three and a half years ago but hadn’t received a variance at the time. Nelson said there was a miscommunication with the contractor and he thought he was doing what was right.

The pavers have not caused any erosion problems on the property, board members noted after a site visit.

Chuck Diessner, speaking on behalf of Hubbard County Coalition of Lakes Association, said he was concerned about the good faith of the applicant.

“All that’s happening here is he does what he wants and then comes in after the fact asking for a mea culpa,” he said. “I think we’re setting a terrible precedence.”

Board member Tim Johnson said he believed it was a miscommunication between Nelson and the contractor. He moved to approve the after-the-fact variance with the condition a rain gutter is installed across the entire front of the house so the water runs off the side instead of onto the bluff. Also, a 4 x 4 will be installed on the side of the pavers to prevent erosion.

Board member Ken Grob said he doesn’t endorse after-the-fact variances but believed removing the pavers would cause more harm than leaving them in place.

In other business, the board:

n Approved a variance for Michael and Julia Brooks to construct an addition to their home on Little Sand Lake. The addition is within the 100-foot bluff impact zone on the south side of the house, which is away from the lake.

Michael Brooks said the addition is for a dining room. Right now, the home has a small breakfast nook.

Bill Cowman, representing COLA, said he wasn’t necessarily objecting to this particular addition but since there have already been several variances on the property he thought the board should say “enough is enough.” He stressed that the bluff impact zone is in place to protect the environmental integrity of the lake.

Maggi Yerkes, president of the Little Sand Lake Association, said she didn’t have a problem with the request.

The board approved the request without conditions.

n Approved a variance to construct a garage and increase the roof pitch of a structure on Long Lake for Scott and Carrie Parks.

Scott Parks said the increased roof pitch will allow them to add insulation and help with snow accumulation in the winter. The proposed addition will exceed the requirement that says construction can’t exceed 50 percent of the current footprint of the home by 2 feet.

Grob said he wanted to make sure there was a condition on the variance that it couldn’t be converted to living space.

Scott Parks said they weren’t planning to use the garage for living space. Grob said he wanted a condition in place in case the property was sold and a future owner wanted to use it for living space.

The board approved the variance with the condition that it can only be used as a garage. If someone wants to convert it to living space the property owner will need to come back to the board for a variance.

n Denied a request by Bethany Bible Camp to replace an existing 8-bed structure within the 100-foot ordinary high water mark structure setback.

The board determined that there were other locations where the structure could be built that weren’t within the 100-foot setback.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561