Archived Story

Campers, RVs are latest problem brought to county board on shoreland rules

Published 12:00am Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Tuesday’s discussion centered on a common problem on county lakes: campers and RVs parked on lake property that already has a &uot;stick-built&uot; house. County ordinance has maintained a one-dwelling-per-lot policy since 1971. According to Land and Resource Director Bill Kalar, even a tent is considered a dwelling. &uot;It is something that every year we wrestle with,&uot; said Kalar. Commissioner Dennis Mosher raised the issue after a Blanche Lake property owner had questioned the county’s position on such matters. &uot;My whole point is this,&uot; said Mosher. &uot;She said, ‘This is a small cabin. We don’t have five or six bedrooms. You go down the way and there are huge houses. Where’s the fairness issue?’ She has a point. When we review the ordinance, can we look at this?&uot; &uot;Every year we run into campers on site,&uot; said Kalar. &uot;These type of things happen all the time, usually for 1 to 2 days and nobody cares very much.&uot; However, if complaints are issued, or if the camper is parked there for a long period of time, the county is obligated to take action. &uot;Every year we wind up taking a few to court because they won’t agree to getting rid of it in a certain amount of time,&uot; Kalar said. County Coordinator Larry Krohn expressed concern that problems with dwellings will only get worse as the county fills up. He reported that the state demographer estimated Otter Tail County’s population will grow by 21,000 in the next 25 years. With an average family size of 2.4, there will be need for 8,750 dwellings, many of which would be in lake areas. Other counties have had similar problems, and Krohn indicated that some had formed citizen committees comprised of area bankers, realtors, contractors, lake associations and others, which have been both effective and well received. &uot;This needs a lot of thorough study,&uot; said Mosher, &uot;It’s a big task.&uot; The board appointed commissioner Bob Block to chair a committee to review the ordinances.

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