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Board of Adjustment lifts variance restrictions on Belle Taine home lot

The Hubbard County Board of Adjustment voted Monday to remove variance conditions on a Lake Belle Taine lot when the owner purchased more land to bring it into compliance.

David Martin purchased 100 feet of lakeshore from his neighbor, giving him a 157-foot lot.

He eventually wants to build a new residence on the lot and convert the current home to a garage with storage, he told the board.

New BOA member Ken Grob then conditioned the removing of the old conditions with a new one - that the old structure can never be converted to a guest house.

The board and county are currently embroiled in a dispute over an allegedly illegal garage with guest cabin on Deer and Shallow lakes.

Grob said he wanted to prevent problems in the future and to clarify the structure's use on the record.

Environmental Services Officer Eric Buitenwerf said the issue of a possible guest cottage would likely arise when Martin applied for a permit to build the new residence.

"You can stipulate that there can be only one residence on the property," he suggested.

But Grob's motion went further. It prevented any conversion of the old structure to living quarters whatsoever.

The Deer/Shallow Lake garage, and the county's order to tear down or move the $400,000 structure, is on hold pending a judge's decision in a variance case that arose out of the building. Last year the BOA refused to grant an after-the-fact variance on the grounds that numerous aspects of the project violated the county's Shoreland Management Ordinance.

The garage owners appealed that denial to Hubbard County District Court and a decision is anticipated soon.

Monday board members seemed anxious to prevent a recurrence of what they have dubbed a "build first, seek forgiveness later" mindset.

In the second case, the board approved a request from Gregg and Charlotte Appel to build a new home on their Long Lake lot.

The three-part request sought relief from a side lot setback, a septic drain field setback and a rear lot line setback.

Contractor John Mason, in presenting the request, said the adjacent lots have homes skewed at 35 degrees to the lakeshore.

If the Appels had placed their home parallel to the lot lines, it would fit, he maintained.

But then they would be peering directly into their neighbors' windows.

"It's the most practical, least obtrusive way" to build the home, he said.

"It does not meet the letter of the law," Grob said. "The home is placed such that it meets all other ordinances and meets the intent of protecting the lake."

Sarah Smith

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

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