CROSSLAKE - The city of Crosslake is considering reversing a 2005 decision related to the size of buildable lots that involved a conflict between the city and state standards.
The council discussed the issue at length Monday but stopped short of making a decision by tabling action.
In June of 2005, the city agreed platted lots approved in the city between 1972 and the present contain lots that do not meet state shoreland standards. But the city maintained those lots were sold and purchased in good faith so they would be considered conforming and could be built on even with their smaller size. The lots could have been considered non-conforming lots, which may affect the ability to build on a lot that may be too small by today's standards. That created a potential conflict with the DNR and the state standards and other city ordinances.
On Monday, council member Rusty Taubert questioned why the city wanted to change its earlier decision. One of the scenarios discussed was if a single owner had four nonconforming lots and whether the owner could sell them individually. The city's ordinance required if the four contiguous lots were under the same ownership they would have to be combined to make two lots if they were too small to meet the standard individually. The previous council didn't think that was fair, Anderson said.
The city's planning and zoning commission recommended the city delete the language added in 2005 and go back to compliance with DNR shoreland rules.
Mark Wessels, REMAX Realty, said the council would be pulling the rug out beneath people who purchased land they planned to use as an investment for their family.
"It's a difficult problem," said council member Steve Roe. And council member Dean Swanson said there are two sides to the argument. Mayor Jay Andolshek said he wanted to table the motion so he could talk to the DNR and wasn't ready to deal with the issue Monday. A year or two ago, Andolshek said he heard more than he wanted to on the subject and still wasn't sure about it. That situation hasn't changed, Andolshek said.
Back in 2005, against the recommendation of the city attorney, the council at the time voted to follow the city ordinances in any discrepancy between the city code and the state's shoreland management act. The vote was 4-1 with Andolshek opposed. The DNR sent a letter to the city in June of 2005 reminding the city of its obligation to properly administer the state's shoreland management standards. The DNR also pointed out the city had flexibility options that could be discussed with the state. The city maintained the DNR could have objected when the lots were platted but did not do so.
The state shoreland act governs 1,000 feet from lakes and 300 feet from rivers. As a governing rule of thumb, cities, counties and townships can be more, but not less, restrictive than state law.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at renee.richardson@ brainerddispatch.com or 855-5852.
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