A common and frustrating scenario for myself and others in the land use permitting process occurs when law abiding landowners learn they need a variance to do something on their property that a neighbor already has done without a permit.
This isn't unusual. Unfortunately, it's not always dealt with fairly. Yes, some people have been caught breaking land use laws and made to restore the property, pay after-the-fact permit fees, go through months of mitigation, etc. But others never are caught. Complaints go unanswered. Apparent violations sometimes turn out to be legal.
Residents charged with land use violations often claim ignorance of the law ("But I didn't know you need a permit for that!" or "I didn't know that was wetland!") By now, I would hope, there's sufficient information available so people know they should call and ask questions before beginning a project. But often that isn't the case.
Flaws in the system, errors and other difficulties make land use enforcement in Crow Wing County difficult, iffy, or nearly impossible. The county has one land use enforcement officer and several conservation officers who oversee the entire county, land and water. To say these individuals' work loads are full is a gross understatement.
On Monday, July 21 at 7 p.m. at Mission Town Hall on County Road 3, Crow Wing County Land Use Enforcement Officer Dennis Myers, along with Soil and Water Conservation District Technician Scott Lucas, will present the difficulties in land use enforcement. Sponsored by the Crow Wing County chapter of LARA (Lakes and Rivers Alliance), all members of lake and river associations are invited to attend. The general public is welcome, too. The presentation is part of LARA's annual summer education program.
If you have issues, questions or concerns that you would like addressed, please attend this meeting.
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