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Lakeshore homeowners being asked to move structures away from water's edge

Inch by inch, the Hubbard County Board of Adjustment is convincing - or forcing - lakeshore homeowners to move renovated or rebuilt structures further away from area lakes.

Board members count them as small victories in their duty to uphold strict shoreland ordinances designed to protect the region's lake environment, member Lou Schwindt told a member of the audience Monday at the board's monthly meeting.

After a lengthy discussion Monday, the board convinced Big Sand property owners Don and Jo Kilander to build a new home away from a bluff impact zone at Interlachen Resort, pulling their deck along with it.

It was the Kilanders' second request to come before the board amid lake residents' complaints that the Interlachen development keeps growing in density. Neighbors appeared in July after the Kilanders presented remodeling plans that would have put the home 18 feet into the bluff impact zone, perched over an embankment. The board balked at the plan.

The Interlachen development on the east shore of Big Sand Lake has eight mostly two-story homes on 350 feet of lakeshore. Kilanders, the sixth such request in the development, were seeking to remodel their home to include a second story and "crow's nest" that would protrude above the tree line.

The board convinced the couple to build new, 30 feet from the bluff's edge as required by law, rather than remodel on the present footprint. But the board compromised and allowed Kilanders to keep a deck that was grandfathered in, if they moved it back, too. The deck's size cannot be expanded aside from a four-foot walkway attaching it to the home, Schwindt proposed, in striking the compromise.

The couple will have to ask that a power line be removed behind their house to accommodate the new structure.

The hilly development and growing population of around 50 homeowners and weekend visitors has concerned other lake residents on adjacent Iowa Beach.

The common dock has grown to the size of a small marina, said resident Barb Kimer, and she would like to see the county and the development formulate an overall plan for the future. The hilly terrain is prone to erosion, neighbors said in July. But Kilander said his property drains away from the lake, not downhill.

In voting to make the house move back, board member Earl Benson said, "It isn't really a hardship. You might as well get it back to where it belongs."

Don Kilander said the move would put the home "in the drain field" for the septic system and would take his available parking space.

He finally agreed to the compromise that would allow him to start work on the home.

In other action, the board:

-Approved Wayne and Holly Koop's request to build a new log home on Little Mantrap Lake, replacing their deteriorating existing home. The home was granted a variance to be 75 feet from the lakeshore instead of 100 feet. "This is a very well conceived project," said new member Jerry Cole. "How much better this will be for the lake. It's a small lot so it's the only place he can build."

-Approved a rebuilding plan by Perry and Mary Champeau on Grace Lake that includes a second story addition and removal of part of a non-conforming structure located within the shore impact zone.

-Denied a request by Tim and Gretchen Juneau to level the lakeshore on their property on Steamboat Lake. Tim Juneau told the board a five-foot rocky crest hampers his ability to pull his boat and dock out of the water each fall.

"I'm opposed to this type of lakeshore renovation," Schwindt said. "I realize it would be nice to have a beach area but this spot on the lake is not conducive to that."

Three lake residents, including a neighbor, wrote in opposition to the project, saying it would impair the "scenic beauty" and contribute to erosion into the lake.

-Approved a variance for Brian Charmoli even though the Deer Lake applicant didn't attend the meeting. He'd requested a variance on a setback for his septic system tank, discovered to be a foot too close to his structure when measurements were taken.

The board reasoned it would be an expensive hardship to remove the tank and might do more damage to the property.

-Approved an after-the-fact variance for Kelly R. Johnson, who erected a roof over his deck without a permit. He apologized, telling the board he got a variance for the deck and didn't think he needed an additional permit to cover it.

-Approved a variance for Daniel and Michele Piprude to authorize building for a non-conforming, subdivided lot on Shallow Lake. The large pie-shaped lot, nearly 2 acres, is part of a residential development. Board members approved the subdivision despite objections from the adjacent property owners, mainly because of the lot size and its 450 feet of lakeshore.

But the board did place conditions that any home built on the land, which includes a bluff on one corner, be no more than 1,000 square feet on its footprint, no more than two bedrooms and that any garage be no larger than 700 square feet.