South Long Lake Complex Proposed Storage Yard Removes County Barriers

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The land use change, sought by the owners of The Harbor on Crescent Bay, was one of two steps taken to make way for a commercial storage area near the resort property on County Road 23. Well Whereas commercial storage sites will not be permitted on properties zoned as a Waterfront District, the Crow Wing County Zoning Ordinance permits such use on waterfront commercial properties with a conditional use permit.

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Owners Josh Young and Robert Young obtained permit approval from the Planning Commission / Adjustment Council in mid-December. The commission also unanimously recommended that the county council approve the requested change to the land use map, which it did on December 29. No decision, however, has gone without significant public input. Environmental Services Supervisor Jake Frie said the county received more than 70 comments, split in two between those in favor or against the proposal.

Those supporting the Young’s claim praised their management of the resort, with some pointing to significant improvements over previous ownership in guest behavior and land management. Several of those supporting are summer residents at The Harbor on Crescent Bay and have reported that storage is essential for guests and the public.

Crescent Bay Harbor, a seaside resort on County Road 23 along Upper and Lower South Long Lakes, has received approval from Crow Wing County Council to change the zoning of two neighboring properties.  This will allow the station to build an outdoor storage lot.  Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Crescent Bay Harbor, a seaside resort on County Road 23 along Upper and Lower South Long Lakes, has received approval from Crow Wing County Council to change the zoning of two neighboring properties. This will allow the station to build an outdoor storage lot. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Those who expressed concerns about the demand cited potential damage to the marshy coastline along the plots in question, which they said could lead to environmental degradation and reduced water quality. Others questioned whether the changes would be stepping stones towards a more ambitious development or expansion of the resort’s ownership. Opposing comments included those from the Upper South Long Lake Improvement District as well as the Township of Maple Grove Council.

Marco and Kathy Harroun, who said they had been camping at the complex for eight years, noted the community was excited about the potential for a new storage area.

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“We are in desperate need of additional storage space and would like better access to the Upper Lake (rather than public access),” the Harrouns commentary said. “While plans for this are still very fluid, discussions within the resort have been very positive. “

Bonnie Jaehning and Robert Welcher, also seasonal residents at the resort, said they wrote because they heard about the lack of support from some in the area.

A playground is one of the features of The Harbor on Crescent Bay, a resort town on County Highway 23, near Upper and Lower South Long Lakes.  The resort recently received a conditional use permit and a land use map amendment to build an outdoor storage lot near its resort property.  Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

A playground is one of the features of The Harbor on Crescent Bay, a resort town on County Highway 23, near Upper and Lower South Long Lakes. The resort recently received a conditional use permit and a land use map amendment to build an outdoor storage lot near its resort property. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

“We believe that the Harbor on Crescent Bay Resort and its owners, the Young family, are a valuable asset to the community,” said their commentary. “We find them very respectful of the beauty of the lakes and of the region’s natural resources. They are true custodians of these resources as well as the summer residents of the resort.

On the other hand, Ruth Naber, president of the Lake Improvement District, said the owners knew about the zoning when they bought the property and could develop within those parameters. “It’s easy for them to say they would stick with their current plan for a few storage units and a nature trail, but the plans could change later if rezoning is allowed,” Naber wrote. “We hope that Planning and Zoning takes this into account and the effect the development may have on the lake, the adjacent wetland and shallow waters in this region of the lake being environmentally fragile and important to organisms. aquatic and waterfowl. “

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Bruce and Joan Dybvig, longtime owners of the lake, said their opposition stemmed from fears the zoning change would lead to future development into a marina or trailer park, similar to the changes they made to current resort property, or even to a new resort.

“Based on the lake shore of this parcel, any of these potential future uses would have devastating negative effects on Upper South Long Lake… wetlands, wildlife, weed preservation of the shore, even. lake fishing, to name a few, ”wrote Bruce Dybvig. .

The zoning of the property near The Harbor on Crescent Bay was recently changed from coastal district to waterfront commercial to open the way to an outdoor storage lot.  Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The zoning of the property near The Harbor on Crescent Bay was recently changed from coastal district to waterfront commercial to open the way to an outdoor storage lot. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Despite anxiety over future plans, the application at issue involved no mooring, paths or disturbance near the shore, county officials said, and any future applications would require another public hearing to amend the permit. ‘conditional use. Instead, it was outdoor storage only with no buildings or commercial structures. A planned gravel driveway would increase the impervious area from 0% to 6.78%.

During the virtual planning committee meeting – which drew up to 70 attendees at a time – one of the candidates responded to some of the criticisms and concerns.

The applicant stated that as waterfront owners, they also care about the natural environment, which is one of the reasons they have installed a “state of the art” compliant septic system at the complex. . He noted the importance of wetlands and rushes to the health of the lake and said they plan to leave all vegetation in place. He said he was in contact with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources often to receive advice on best practices in shoreline management and that he would continue to be.

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In its factual findings, the planning commission agreed that the reclassification was in line with the goals of the County Comprehensive Plan, in particular its encouragement of a diverse mix of businesses and improvements in tourism and the quality of life of residents. residents.

“One of these strategies is to keep the existing seaside resorts; to help them with expansion and improvement to enable them to meet growing needs in a way that does not degrade natural resources, ”the results said.

The panel also found that the facts supported the granting of the conditional use permit, noting that an approved stormwater management plan would be necessary and would mitigate the environmental impact. The permit requires the storage area to be isolated from residential areas as well, reiterating any expansion of the complex would require a separate public hearing and approval process.

CHELSEY PERKINS can be reached at 218-855-5874 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/DispatchChelsey.

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