Letter to the editor: Elbow Lake property decision is a costly one

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Detroit Lakes Tribune by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Detroit Lakes Tribune. To submit a letter, email or mail it to Detroit Lakes Tribune, 511 Washington Ave., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501.

A person holds a letter with the text "letter to the editor" overlaid on the image.

To the editor:

On Aug. 3, Becker County commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a conditional use permit on lake property on Elbow Lake for an out of state investor despite opposition by area property owners/taxpayers and others affected by this decision.

Our elected officials are supposed to serve their communities as leaders, represent the citizens to protect their rights. I understand that occasionally that means unpopular decisions. When that is in the interest of the greater good and protecting rights of Americans, I respect that. However, in this case they prioritized a special interest from an out of state investor over the rights and investments of hundreds of local citizens, property owners and taxpayers.

Why would they do this? The only logical conclusion is that they had some personal gain, or they don’t care. Why else would they disregard the rights, interests and investments of hundreds of property owners/taxpayers they are elected to represent? Neither of these reasons is acceptable for elected and appointed officials.

If the commissioners do care, or did not have any personal gain, then it means they made a mistake. I understand there may be an obligation to consider landowners’ requests, but that obligation does not require them to approve every request. If that were the case, then why even have zoning rules in the first place?


The problem here is that many people made investments in property and had an expectation of their long term ability to enjoy their property investments based on the current zoning rules. In addition to undermining property owners rights and expectations, this conditional use approval will also result in increased costs to those taxpayers locally affected, in addition to detrimental effects on the natural environment.

I sincerely hope the commissioners recognize and properly address this mistake; if they leave this decision as is, the resulting actions will cost all Becker County taxpayers, not just the local residents, property owners and taxpayers directly affected by this apparently biased decision.

What To Read Next
Get Local