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HomeBusinessLake County Planning And Zoning Meeting; October 16, 2023

Lake County Planning And Zoning Meeting; October 16, 2023

The Harbors Resort in Two Harbors May Have Some Unhappy Neighbors

The Lake County Planning and Zoning Board met on Monday night to talk about yet another change in the plans for The Harbors Resort that, when constructed, will sit on 23 acres along the Lake Superior shore line southwest of Two Harbors. Along with the Board members and John Leupke, represent­ing The Harbors, LLC, were 9 or 10 area res­idents who have serious concerns about the impacts that a “high end” resort could have on their neighborhood, their property values and the environment.

The property in question is located along East Bay Road. Leupke purchased the land in 2021 with the plan of building a luxury resort with domed and treehouse cabins. The plan initially included space for a plaza, recreation facility and an ice rink.

The project has, however, run into some snags. There are no structures that have been built, as yet, on the property and Leupke has been petitioning the Two Harbors City Coun­cil to extend city sewer and water lines to the property. For a number of reasons, Two Har­bors city officials have rejected this request.

Site remediation work was started to pre­pare the ground for construction, but there are allegedly some unpaid bills related to that work and a lawsuit has been filed to address the situation.

A portion of the 23 acre parcel contains wet­lands and while the plan apparently passed an environmental review, with no sewer and water service to cover the needs of the resort structures, forward movement on the devel­opment ground to a halt. Leupke has made plans to draw water from Lake Superior and then purchased a 4 acre plot next to the land that he already owns with the idea of build­ing a septic system to cover the needs of the resort. Area residents are concerned about this new wrinkle because there is no ability for the public to examine the design of the system. Minnesota State statutes say that a plan for a septic system processing 10,000 or more gallons of sewage a day must go be­fore the Minnesota Pollution Control Agen­cy for approval and that the MPCA has to be involved in the design of the system. At Monday night’s meeting, the folks from The Harbors LLC stated that their planned septic system would handle up to 9,700 gallons of sewage a day. One wonders where they got that number and what the design specifica­tions for the system will be. Some concerned residents are wondering, shouldn’t this infor­mation be available to the public before Plan­ning and Zoning gives it the green light?  

Not one of the residents who attended the meeting indicated that they felt their con­cerns were validated or that they were even heard. One attendee stated to me that he over­heard a county official say “We’re going to get sued on this one way or another.” If that’s true, one would wonder why elected officials would be willing to rubber stamp a planned development that seems so ill conceived that it comes equipped with one or more lawsuits, while local residents feel that they may have to sue in order to be heard.

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