LAKE VER-MILION – A second Lake Vermilion resort is seeking the county’s permission to include an RV park on their property. The St. Louis County Planning Commission heard arguments late last …
LAKE VER-MILION – A second Lake Vermilion resort is seeking the county’s permission to include an RV park on their property. The St. Louis County Planning Commission heard arguments late last week for and against a plan at the Daisy Bay Resort, but delayed a final vote on the plan because of a clerical error that cited the wrong address of the resort in public notices.
The proposed expansion would see up to 40 RV sites added to the resort. The plan also anticipates new ownership, as local businesswoman Christine Schlotec plans to purchase the property if the county approves the proposed expansion.
In addition to the new RV sites, Schlotec said she plans to have the resort open year-round to allow ice fishing off the lakeshore. She said she planned to seek more docks for the property as well.
Unlike the proposal at BayView Lodge, the changes at Daisy Bay would not increase the overall footprint of the resort, nor would they require an alteration of the Lake Vermilion Overlay since the required zoning is already in place. A county staff report presented by county planner Jared Ecklund said the expansion was within the stipulations of the Lake Vermilion Plan, although he said some water drainage issues on the property raise concerns.
With the steep terrain at the resort, Ecklund said the property developers would have to take care to ensure seasonal runoff would be mitigated if the natural landscape was altered. Ecklund said the county was asking for a storm water plan to be submitted for the site.
Furthermore, subsequent development of the area would not be allowed beyond the current plans because of the water runoff issue.
Neighbors to the resort raised concerns about the project.
“I appreciate the quality of the water in my well, I do not want to lose drinking water out of my faucet,” Pauly Housenga said. She noted that she can already hear spring runoff flowing through the property and she was concerned that it would only get worse with more intensive development at the site.
Aside from water, Housenga said she did not want any increase of light pollution.
“We appreciate the night sky,” she said. “During the winter it (resort lights) reflects off the lake and it shines into the house. I refuse to have to put up drapes. I want to see the night sky through my windows.”
Another resort neighbor, Todd Betterley, asked if the resort was actually expanding or whether it was transitioning to a new business model and structure, something he believes is not covered in the Lake Vermilion plan.
“That is my biggest concern - does it fit with the neighborhood?” he asked. “No one has a problem with the resort, but this is transitioning a small business into a big one.”
He said an increase in traffic to the site, something specifically noted in the county staff report, would go against the Lake Vermilion plan.
The steepness of the hills and the ability to navigate larger vehicles into the resort was also a concern for Betterley.
Housenga asked why the board was moving so quickly since many residents near the resort were away for the winter.
Ecklund said the county had to take action within 60 days after the planning commission had received the application. He also said that those not in the area could submit their feedback through mail or email.
Housenga said she doubted many would even get the notice in time because of mail having to be re-delivered at an alternate address.
Even with the complaints, property owners who spoke out against the proposed RV park did praise the resort for being a good neighbor and providing some services, such as a small grocery, to residents in the area.
Since the planning commission delayed their vote on the proposal, planning commissioners did not discuss the matter. They’ll have that opportunity when the proposal is reheard on Thursdsy, March 14 at the county’s public works building in Virginia.
The public will have a second opportunity to speak on that date as well. A time for the hearing had not been set as of the Timberjay’s Wednesday press time.