LAKE SHORE -- Before the latest version of Cass County's Land Use Ordinance takes effect May 27, the county board voted Tuesday night to set public hearings on further changes to sections covering resorts and public water access lots at 10 a.m. June 7 and July 5 at the courthouse in Walker.
The board was responding to questions raised at the last board meeting concerning the limitation the May 27 version will place on resorts wanting to sell some units to up to four owners, but still rent those units part of the year and operate overall as a resort.
This month, the Environmental Services Advisory Committee and Planning Commission reviewed the resort section again and suggested changing resorts from planned unit development to water oriented commercial zoning.
This change would specifically identify resorts as commercial rather than residential, said ESD Director John Sumption.
The proposed changes also would require recording deeds with multiple ownership at the county recorder's office and a designation on that record that units must be moved or removed to make the property compliant with residential or planned unit development density standards if the resort should cease to operate as a commercial resort.
Leroy Heitz, a resident of the Breezy Point area on the south shore of Leech Lake, and John Erickson, an attorney representing property owners in that area, asked the board Tuesday to consider prohibiting all controlled lake access lots in plats.
Heitz named one developer he believes plans to develop 25 to 27 lots in the Breezy Point area on 550-front lakeshore feet, with a lake access lot to serve offshore properties. He expressed concern about the population density for this plan compared with the existing Breezy Point area already developed.
Current regulations permit up to six offshore lots to access a public waterway via a joint ownership access lot in a plat. The ordinance version scheduled to take effect May 27 cuts that number to three offshore lots and eliminates access lots on natural environment lakes.
Under either ordinance version, additional offshore lots could gain access to the lake by increasing the access lot width 25 percent for each additional offshore lot served.
Sumption expressed concern over the potential for developers to skirt the ordinance by developing offshore and lakeshore lots separately or using other means to create additional accesses, but with less county control than is possible when access lots are allowed.
He said he expects to receive at least two applications this week for plats containing access lots.
The board voted Tuesday to implement a 90-day moratorium on access lots, giving time to receive comment on any changes from the May 27 ordinance version to be heard in June and July.
Sumption noted he has approached Bemidji State University and received favorable response to a proposal to have the university conduct a study of the impact increased lake use through controlled access lots can have on lakes.
Under a new policy the board adopted Tuesday, public comment will be received at both public hearings this summer, but the board will not make a final decision on any further ordinance changes until the next regular meeting, which would be July 19 at the senior center in Hackensack.
Tuesday, the board adopted a permit rate schedule for commercial land use permits The base commercial permit will be $100, with $300 added for structures or additions up to 501 square feet, $325 for those 501 to 1,500 square feet, $460 for those 1,501 to 2,500 square feet and $545 for those more than 2,500 square feet.
A conditional use permit no longer will be required for commercial building done in a commercial zone. Any commercial construction in another zone, however, would continue to require a conditional use permit.
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