Opponents of the proposed new Driftwood Resort development are breathing easier (County Board sinks proposal to redevelop lakefront resort), but some of us remain troubled by misrepresentation. Board Chair Franzen claimed challengers were anti-resort. Not true. It was the number of variances, building and traffic density, and undocumented impervious surface ratio that brought forth a united resistance.
The DNR, property owners, and visitors to the Whitefish Chain know that these previously pristine waters have already suffered serious degradation resulting from insufficient environmental management. Lakeshore owners are directly affected, but why would anyone want to override ordinances that protect our County's biggest tourist and tax dollar draw? Thankfully Board members Brekken, Koering, and Barrows understood, and voted to stop the development.
While grateful for the outcome, it's disturbing that Chairwoman Franzen (arguing to approve the project) openly trivialized the motives of the 70-plus people who opposed it, categorizing us as "people (who) don't want to change" and casting us as selfish, i.e. "not everyone can own a lake place, so a resort is where people can come and recreate." These patronizing judgments miss the entire point. Is she unable to grasp that there are critical reasons to uphold our environment protection ordinances for the sake of all? Opponents of this proposal would accept a new Driftwood Resort; just one that doesn't compromise the integrity of our land, water, and neighborhood.
Unfortunately opponents were similarly dismissed by the Planning Commission, who 10 days earlier approved 27 variances for this development without ordering an EAW, and dismissing serious DNR concerns. It makes one wonder, what is behind this eagerness to develop land without regard for preservation of the Lake Area's most valuable asset? Voters should think hard about this when these representatives are up for re-election.