Douglas County Board of Adjustment approves variance for after-the-fact remodel project on Lake Ida

The variance was previously denied, but after new information came to light, it was now approved.

PlanningCommission 5129.jpg
Scott Rieger and Brenda Fischer, members of the Carolina Beach Co-op Association, ask for a variance for an after-the-fact remodel project from the Douglas County Board of Adjustment. (Celeste Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press)

A variance for an after-the-fact addition to a cabin on Lake Ida has been approved by the Douglas County Board of Adjustment. After first being denied by the board in June, it was now approved at the Board of Adjustment meeting Tuesday, July 27.

The applicants for the variance are Brenda Fischer and Scott Rieger, who are part of the Carolina Beach Co-op Association.

After the denial in June , the applicants had 30 days to appeal the decision to district court or, if there was new evidence or circumstances had changed, they could apply for another variance request, according to Dave Rush, Douglas County Land and Resource Management director.

Dave Rush


The reason the variance was needed in the first place was because a change to the proposed construction plan that expanded the cabin where it did not meet the required setback to a bluff on Lake Ida. The change in the construction plans was apparently not reviewed or approved by Land and Resource Management.

However, that was the new evidence that the applicants brought forward when they reapplied.

Rieger had exchanged emails with a staff person at Rush’s office referring to the changes that included updated drawings. Somehow, Rush had no record of receiving the updated drawings although Rieger was under the impression Rush had approved the plans.


According to information provided by Douglas County Land and Resource Management, the changes in the plans included a change in the roof pitch that Rush believed constituted an expansion of the interior living space of the building.

That variance was unanimously approved by the Board of Adjustment, as the emails indicated Rieger had done what he needed to do and the project is now in compliance.

SEE RELATED: Douglas County says cabin project on Lake Ida doesn't comply with building permit

During the meeting, Rush read correspondence from members of the Carolina Beach Co-op Association Board that was in favor of the applicants project. The board members had no issues with the project and indicated that Rieger and Fischer had kept the board in the loop throughout their process.


Rush also read a letter from a frustrated neighbor who was and is not in favor of what was done to the property.

Dan New, who is on the Board of Adjustment, said, “That sounds like a personal vendetta irrelevant to us. We look at the property and make sure it is in compliance.”

Pilgrim Point Shores EAW

The Douglas County Planning Advisory Commission approved the preliminary plat of Pilgrim Point Shores, a 35.5 acre proposed residential development on the east shore of Lake Ida.

It also will be making a recommendation to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners that no further study is necessary and there is no need for an environmental impact statement.

PreliminaryPlat_PilgrimPointShores by Celeste Edenloff on Scribd

Both the preliminary plat and the environmental assessment worksheet are being recommended for approval by the Douglas County Board. Action on these items is expected to take place at the Tuesday, Aug. 3, Douglas County Board meeting.

The plan for Pilgrim Point Shores calls for roadway construction, public sanitary sewer installation and construction of permanent stormwater management facilities, which will then be followed by individual lot construction. Pilgrim Point Shores includes 28 lakeshore lots, four non-lakeshore lots and 14 single-family townhome lots.

Rush said through the environmental assessment process, which provides an opportunity for state and local authorities to gain more information about the project and its impact on the environment, he received correspondence from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and one resident, David Geddes.


EAW_PilgrimPointShores by Celeste Edenloff on Scribd

Environmental concerns included erosion, stormwater runoff, forest protection, conservation design, exterior lighting, shoreline buffers and water quality, among others.

Any potential environmental impacts identified, according to Rush and his staff, were not as significant as presumed, can be stopped or reversed and/or can be controlled or mitigated.

Rush also noted that a reply was sent to each of the entities that provided comments with answers to the concerns that were brought up.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
What To Read Next
Get Local