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County turns down high-density request third time

"What does a person have to do in the county of Becker to create a housing development on a lake?"

These words, uttered by developer Mark Yozamp at Tuesday's meeting of the Becker County Board of Commissioners, expressed his frustration at having his application for a change of zone and a multi-unit residential development denied by both the county's Planning & Zoning Commission and the County Board -- more than once.

"This is the third time I've been denied," Yozamp pointed out. "I'm looking for answers."

He was seeking to have his property in Lake View Township on Lake Melissa rezoned from agricultural to high density residential, and to obtain permission for a multi-unit residential development, or MURD, consisting of 10 units to be built upon the property.

At the June 19 meeting of the Becker County Planning Commission, the board voted in favor of a motion from Commissioner Larry Knutson to deny the change of zone and MURD application on the basis that the project is "too dense based on the land sustainability."

Several residents of lakes Sallie and Melissa spoke out against the application at that meeting, noting that 10 units were simply too much for that amount of property.

Many of those same residents also appeared at Tuesday's board meeting.

"These two lakes (Sallie and Melissa) are overdeveloped already -- we don't need 10 units on land that should be (the right size) for four," said Mary Ann Bond, president of the Melissa-Sallie Lake Association.

Lake View Township Supervisor Gail Hahn noted that the township has been opposed to the plan "because of its density... and take away the natural flavor of the lake. I just think there's a better way to do this."

After spending "thousands of dollars" to have the plans "redrawn and redrawn," Yozamp noted, he felt "my project has been devalued by constantly being brought before the (planning) commission and constantly being rejected."

While the board briefly contemplated a compromise, in the end, it was Yozamp who rejected the board's proposal of allowing him to develop eight units along with the originally planned four boat mooring slips.

With only eight units, Yozamp wanted permission to include eight boat slips, but Zoning Administrator Patty Johnson recommended that the board not allow more than four, and the commissioners concurred.

"If you're asking for more mooring slips than the (zoning) ordinance allows, this won't go anywhere," Commissioner Karen Mulari pointed out.

"I think I'm entitled to this because of what I've gone through (having two previous applications denied)," Yozamp said.

The board, however, disagreed, voting unanimously to concur with the planning commission's decision to deny the application.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454