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Ruling disappoints lake group

Members of the Lake Carlos Area Association (LCAA) are disappointed with the appellate court ruling in favor of Douglas County on the County Road 42/11/34 project.

Stephen Eisele, president of the LCAA, represented by Jim and Karna Peters of Peters and Peters PLC, submitted a statement to the newspaper Wednesday morning following the Tuesday decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Eisele, on behalf of the entire LCAA, said the association appreciated the work of the court in examining the line between unsafe and irresponsible highway planning and the association's ability as property owners to seek a better and less polluting project within the law.

"We now have several options," he said. "Our appellate legal team is helping us evaluate these options and a decision will be reached soon. One reasonable option is an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court."

The project's scope has not changed in almost 20 years, according to Eisele. He said it doubles the hard surface of the road and requires major construction on private properties in an attempt to control increased runoff pollution into the three lakes at the heart of the legal action - Carlos, L'Homme Dieu and Darling.

"Putting unacceptable environmental pressure on all three lakes at a price tag north of $2.7 million at a time when the county is struggling with other major expensive projects, such as the $24.8 million jail/public works project, is not responsible government," said Eisele.

He continued by saying, "It will be very easy to reduce the price tag on the road while maintaining safety and the pollution and damage to our lakes through responsible and protective road design, incorporating features both parties seek."

According to the LCAA, the Minnesota Department of Transportation would accept and fund a 40-foot wide roadway, rather than the proposed 50-foot project. Members of the LCAA continue to question at the waste, cost and pollution threat caused by a 50-foot road project with sidewalks to nowhere, said Eisele.

Last week, the lake associations for Carlos, Darling and L'Homme Dieu published a joint statement in the Echo Press seeking completion of a downsized project that is safe and causes less pollution to the three lakes.

"The lake associations are here to protect the lakes from pollution," said Eisele. "Unfortunately, we find ourselves attempting to prevent the county from doing just that."