I have lived in the Brainerd lakes area for almost 20 years and have been involved in local and regional economic development organizations, environmental associations and foundations as well as tourism and chamber boards. I have also been a resort owner and a developer. It is with dismay that I write the following regarding the recently imposed Crow Wing County moratorium on lakeshore PUDs.
The issue of commercial lakeshore development has been a hot community, if not statewide, issue since before I purchased our resort in 1986. In the ensuing process of renovating, expanding and eventually developing our property into a townhome association, I became very intimate with the sometimes conflicting issues between residential and commercial lakeshore property owners. With that said, I will not go into all the pros and cons of each side, but instead relate my thoughts on the one overriding reason for the current controversy and resulting moratorium.
I feel the reason is the absolute lack of vision and leadership of the current and past County Commissioners. The reason is not the micro-managed, understaffed and under resourced planning and zoning department. The soon to be released comprehensive plan has had a five year gestation period in one of the fastest growing counties in the state! This county is far behind its neighbors such as Cass County in terms of planning for sustainable development. This is an issue that many area lake associations, foundations and the Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber have been clambering for years and years to develop and implement.
This moratorium did not have to happen and should not have happened. It continues to enable the polarization of the various constituents and ultimately will have a negative economic impact on the area. I sincerely hope that current and future county commissioners will learn from this situation and begin to invest in the Planning and Zoning Department, long-range planning and consistent policy enforcement by professionals that will engender true sustainable development.
JOHN W. PIERRON of Breezy Point is a former chair of the Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, a former owner of Hay Lake Lodge, a former president of the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association, a former member of the board of advisers of the Pequot Lakes Area Development Organization and a former member of the Pine River Watershed Protection Foundation.
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