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Planning Commission gives preliminary OK to housing development for Long Lake peninsula

WILLMAR -- Preliminary plans by the Willmar Poultry Company to put five residential lots on a peninsula on Long Lake were approved Monday by the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission.

The preliminary plat for Pleasant Cove was approved on a 4-1 vote, with one abstention and one member absent.

Besides lots for five homes, the preliminary plat includes construction of an 18-foot wide private road on the narrowest strip of the peninsula.

Half-dozen residents spoke out against the plan saying the project would harm wetlands and an already "fragile" lake.

They questioned if the land was buildable, given the high water level that prevents existing homes from having basements. They also said the road would be built on unstable land that may have been illegally filled in with gravel during the 1980s when earlier attempts to develop the peninsula failed.

The land is "a unique, small parcel of land that is surrounded by water," said Linda Olson, who urged the planning commission members to vote against a project that would "disrupt the natural balance of shoreland vegetation" on the lake.

Olson said it was "time that we as citizens and our county take a stand" to protect lakes like Long Lake that are in trouble.

Dovre Township supervisors expressed concern about the road meeting the township's standards for providing access to emergency vehicles.

Subdivisions in Kandiyohi County are required to have a 60-foot wide public road. But in a letter, Kandiyohi County Highway Engineer Gary Danielson said requiring the wider public road for this plat would mean removal of numerous trees, potential environmental harm and would be more than what is needed for five lots. In a change from normal practices, it was recommended that a narrow, private road be allowed.

Gary Geer, planning and zoning administrator, said the commission is allowed to deviate from the ordinance. Private roads are allowed in some types of residential developments, but Geer said this would be the first time that a private road would be allowed in a subdivision like this.

Dennis Goehring, chairman of the planning commission, was the sole member to vote against the preliminary plat. He said questions about the road, differing measurements on the maps and promises current residents were given by developers that the peninsula wouldn't be used for housing led him to vote no.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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