`Swan Lake’ development denied

Dawn Rye | Writer

It all came down to the details when the Turner County board of commissioners met regarding the rezoning of agriculture land at Swan Lake to lake residential property. 

During the meeting, commissioners and opposed neighbors addressed their concerns regarding the new development. After much discussion, a roll call vote was taken, and all five commissioners voted no for the future lake residential development. What tipped the scales from the first reading being approved unanimously to the entire board denying the rezone application? 

Real estate developer Jason Schumacher addressed the board with some of the main points from the previous meeting. He was under the impression there should be full disclosure on his part regarding the future development. He explained there would be 30 dwellings across the lake. When it comes to the septic systems, he had his engineers look to see what was best for the development. Builders would be required to follow the builder’s covenants in all aspects during the construction process. Schumacher stated he has 13 people interested in building homes in the new development. Schumacher noted they had done everything that was required down to the last detail of the project. 

Chairman Mick Miller asked Schumacher why he didn’t bring someone in favor of the project. From his point, there is no one behind this project attending the meeting. Schumacher replied that he was unaware he needed to bring a consumer in favor of the project. 

Miller questioned if Schumacher owned any of the property. Attorney Shawn Nichols said Schumacher has control of the property with a protective covenant that allows him to develop the property.

Commissioner Mark Kaufman asked if Schumacher spoke with the township about the increased traffic on the road. Schumacher replied he had not spoken with the township. 

Swan Lake Association board member Pat Huber said they wanted to gather public comments on residents in favor or against the new development. Out of the 96 association members at the meeting, 61 responded that they were not in favor. 

Don McCarty referenced state statute regarding the outline of the Lake Association and the members when it comes to voicing their opinion when it comes to change. In the Turner County Comprehensive Plan, Swan Lake is an important recreation area for the county’s residents. Swan Lake provides beach, boat and recreation access for the residents. It is vital that Turner County carefully review development proposals in the Swan Lake area to preserve the Swan Lake environment. 

He noted in the plan the common goal of the Turner County Planning Commission and all Turner County cities is to cooperate within a specific area near all city limit boundaries. Therefore, the future land inside Turner County is based on the county’s comprehensive plan of the municipalities. 

“In my mind, when you read through the Comprehensive Plan, it gives you the answer to the question in to whether this should be approved or disapproved,” commented McCarty. 

Miller said there are some concerns about the comprehensive plan and landowner Stewart wanting to build her dream home. It is a tough call and as a board, have their hands full. 

Commissioner Tony Ciampa noted how it would affect the Knutson’s, Hanson’s, Van Orsdel’s, and Georgeson’s with the development. These families pay a lot of money in taxes and the board has to consider them too.

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