A proposed development off Strawberry Lake Road in Pequot Lakes, raised concern from residents about tree removal and lake water protection.
The heavily wooded 15.27 acres of land with 10 lots called Ossie Lake Shores is between Lake Ossawinnamakee and Strawberry Lake in Ideal Township. The land proposed for the development borders both lakes.
The development applicants are Lani and Lynne Yoshimura with Secluded Land Co. submitting the preliminary plat for the 10-lot residential development. Nine lots are on Ossawinnamakee with one lot on Strawberry Lake. There is one existing 770-square-foot cabin and one shed on the property along with bluffs and a large wetland.
In the development’s plans, a perpetual wetland conservation area was listed for two lots of the development. Restrictions do not prohibit reasonable clearing of trees and vegetation for a “view corridor” or the use of boardwalks and docks to cross wetlands to access the lakes.
According to the information filed with Crow Wing County, the Ossie Lake Shores Owners’ Association is being organized for people owning lands within the property. This month, the Crow Wing County Board approved the preliminary plat for the property, after hearing staff recommendations for the project and residents concerns against its size and density.
Peter Moodie, Strawberry Lake Road resident, was concerned about the amount of trees that will be clear cut for driveways and cutting down a hillside to construct a proposed road that he said could dramatically increase the runoff to Strawberry Lake. Both Lake Ossawinnamakee and Strawberry Lake are classified as general development lakes. Strawberry Lake is one of the few in the county managed for rainbow trout and according to the DNR is one of a few lakes in the Brainerd area able to support trout fisheries. Increased nutrients, which fuel plant and algae growth and decrease oxygen levels critical to rainbow trout survival, may result with greater development, the DNR noted.
Chris Pence, Crow Wing County supervisor, said he believed the county’s planning commission did its due diligence. The planning commission approved the project. The Ideal Township Board also recommended approval. In comments to the county, the Lake Ossawinnamakee Property Owners Association reported the lake’s elongated shape means there are more than 300 lots on a lake less than 700 acres.
The association said additional multi-lot developments would threaten the health of the lake as 10 lot’s worth of impermeable surface (roofs and paving) “could add significant nutrient load to the lake.”
The association noted it appeared a reasonable storm water and drainage plan was submitted with the development.
“We are familiar with this very nice parcel and we believe that it would be much more appropriate for one or two residential lots, but not 10,” the association reported.
The county received multiple comments from residents also concerned about the size and intensity of the development. A meeting notice was issued with the wrong date by the county but a second notice was then sent.
The county reported soils at the site are suitable for two septic locations for each proposed lot. One writer to the county noted the development may provide badly needed construction jobs for the local economy.
One concern from a neighboring property owner was whether an adjoining wetland was actually part of the lake bed for Strawberry Lake, which would have put one buildable site in question because of setbacks.
Pence said the wetland was determined to be separate and not part of the lake bed. The DNR determined the isolated wetland did not qualify as a separate public waters wetland.
The county reported the plat met its ordinances. Pence said a shared driveway for the southerly three lots was proposed by the developer to minimize the amount of trees taken down. Pence said the requirement for 100 feet of lot width and 30,000 square feet for the buildable lot is larger than would have been required before the ordinance update completed last year.
Moodie’s concerns included building sites below the bluff and he questioned if variances would be sought so homes could be built on the bluff.
Neighboring property owner Julie Englert said the development puts a road next to their land, destroying many trees and adding traffic and noise and putting a road on two sides of their property. They requested a buffer with 12-foot tall blue spruce.
The buffer request was denied by the planning commission, which decided the existing screening there would be appropriate. There isn’t a setback requirement for the road, which has a right of way 65 feet from the neighboring property.
“Once again we’ve seen that the ordinance works” said Commissioner Paul Thiede. “I don’t know how we ever get to the point of solving that the neighbors don’t want so many trees cut down. ... That’s an issue that I don’t know we’ll ever get our arms around and be able to answer to everyone’s satisfaction.”
Once the preliminary plat was approved, a 30-day window opened for an appeal to district court.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or firstname.lastname@example.org.