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Wilderness Point resort seeks to change conditional use permit

Thursday the city of Pequot Lakes Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to consider amending a conditional use permit to allow a three-story lodge, expanded beach area and relocated boat ramp and motorized traffic on a walking trail at 6316 Wilderness Road.

According to a staff report, Wilderness Resort Villas, with an application address of Chaska, is seeking to change the conditional use permit it received in 2010 to allow these changes.

With the proposal six twin-home building sites would be removed along with two triplex sites. In addition, a single triplex site would be reduced to duplex. Four detached villas would be converted to six twin-home lots.

“The applicant is proposing to construct a three-story, 7,255-square-foot ‘lodge’ at the ‘Wilderness Resort’ property,” the staff report by Community Growth Institute reported. “The proposed lodge will contain 16-units and will be subdivided by a condominium plat. The first level contains four two-bedroom units and two studios. The second level contains four two-bedroom units, two studios, and a 2,500-square-foot lobby reception area. The third level of the proposed structure contains four three-bedroom units.

“The proposed structure will be constructed in the same location as the current lodge/maintenance building which will be removed. The applicant has indicated that building the lodge in this location will allow for the preservation of large white pine trees, which will visually screen the structure as viewed from the lake.”

The structure is described as having half-log siding, stone trim and decorative log corners with a 40-space parking area.

Wilderness Resort is also asking to remove aquatic vegetation for three systems of docks on Middle Cullen Lake. A permit from the Department of Natural Resources is required for that. The current permit allows for 40 boat slips.

And the resort is seeking the ability to widen the existing beach from 140 feet to 175 feet while proposing the addition of a second beach along the point’s east side.

The staff report stated Wilderness Resort’s current conditional use permit (CUP) states a road in the bluff and shoreline setback area was to be removed. In its place, vegetation was to be planted as an 8-foot-wide walking path was to replace the road. The city recorded the walking path would not allow automobile traffic and would be made of pervious surface that would let water through it.

In its request to amend the CUP, Wilderness Resort is seeking to allow resort personnel and guests to use vehicles on the walking path.

“There was a significant amount of discussion during the original CUP review process, regarding the use of the ‘walking trail’ near the lake,” the staff report noted. “It was ultimately determined that the trail should be used for walking and that it should be restored to a condition that has less impact on the lake.”

A site visit this past summer found the original condition of the permit wasn’t being met as nonpervious material was used for the trail and it was “clear the path was being used by more than just pedestrian traffic,” the report stated.

The city’s planning office directed the property owner to remove the impervious material and replace it with a pervious option such as mulch, block the trail entrance to vehicles and add a sign identifying it solely as a pedestrian walking path.

The resort has been on Wilderness Point for more than 40 years, the applicant noted, stating the proposed changes were consistent with the existing use. A second beach is required to meet resort guest needs, the applicant stated.

In its application for the amended CUP, the resort said its current permit allows a total of 64 lots with 11 detached villa lots all of which have been sold and are built or under construction; 40 twin home lots, with four twin home lots sold and improved with twin homes and two lots sold with units under construction. The resort reported 34 twin home lots remain to be sold and built out together with three triplex lots.

“The proposed CUP reduces the number of twin home buildings from 20 to 14 (40 units to 28 units), eliminates the two triplexes (a total of six units) and reduces the third triplex to a twin. Seventeen units/lots are eliminated reducing the total number of town home unit/lots from 60 to 43.”

The resort application states that building the lodge in this new location allows for the preservation of more of the large white pines “which are an important feature of the resort, thereby maintaining the character of the property and the shoreline.

“The first level of the lodge will basically straddle the location of the old lodge and the maintenance building ... Much of the westerly façade of the lodge will be screened by towering white pines that will be preserved by utilizing this plan. In addition, the new lodge is located entirely within the second tier to further minimize its impact when viewed from the water.”

The application is set for discussion at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday in Pequot Lakes.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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