Reader Opinion: Concerned with resort redevelopment
On May 16, the Crow Wing County Planning Commission gave its approval to a rather large redevelopment of Driftwood Resort on Upper Whitefish Lake. This approval came in the form of voting for a land use zoning change, conditional use permit, preliminary plat, and 27 variances. In spite of considerable concern expressed by local citizens and the lake association, the commission approved these variances in blanket fashion.
As a Lower Hay Lake resident, I am not opposed to the redevelopment of the resort, but the size and scope of this project very much concern me and many others in the area. We are citizens who live, work, and recreate in the area of the proposed development and who invest time, talents and energy to protect water quality on the Whitefish Chain for future generations to enjoy. Sadly, it appeared to us as though the board members' minds were made up in favor of the developer long before the May 16 public meeting.
A plan requiring 27 variances, in my opinion, is a substantial overreach and far out of step with the Land Use Ordinances. Variances may be needed at times, but the number approved here is frightening. If the public is permitted to have comment on these plans, why ignore their input as the Planning Commission appears to have done? The county's stated values are "Be Responsible. Treat People Right. Build a Better Future." The manner in which the Planning Commission acted on this proposal is not well-aligned with these values. One can only hope that the County Board of Commissioners will truly listen to public input and put the brakes on this project. Their public meeting is 9 a.m. May 28 at the county courthouse