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Developer’s lake easement request sparks contentious exchange

Staff writers

Steve Hudson’s resignation as lake superintendent wasn’t the only divisive lake topic to dominate discussion at county commission meetings Monday and last Wednesday.

Heated debate, both pro and con, surrounded a request for a driveway easement from developer Garry Dunnegan, who last year installed a controversial dock in apparent contravention of previous lake rules.

Commissioner Dianne Novak sided with Dunnegan last week, saying she was embarrassed that other commissioners had made Dunnegan come in and “beg” for access to property that he hopes to develop near the lake’s low-water bridge.

She accused the county of failing to move forward and needlessly sticking to how things were done in the past, when a series of requests for easements in the same area were denied.

For his part, Dunnegan at one point shouted that Dallke was the most “anti-build” commissioner he had ever encountered and that the county needed new construction like he hopes to create.

An initial motion from Novak to approve Dunnegan’s easement died for lack of a second last Wednesday, but a second motion stressing that it was a one-time-only approval was unanimously adopted.

Even before the easement was signed, Dunnegan — reportedly encouraged by Novak — began work on the driveway.

“How did he do the work before it was ever signed by you guys,” lake resident Betty Sklenar asked Monday. “He started work Tuesday and drove into that driveway Friday morning like a pumped-up banty rooster who just won a fight.”

Residents objected to not being consulted — something planning and zoning administrator Emma Tajchman said was not required.

“Dianne, you’ve been telling me for months that we have to give this man a driveway to get into his house,” lake resident Larry Lalouette said Monday. “But it wasn’t even on the agenda for today. You know how you felt a minute ago because you weren’t part of the discussion (about an apartment for EMTs). You’re saying we’re just a bunch of peons, and it doesn’t make any difference what we know or say.”

Fellow lake resident Dick Fanter, a builder by profession, threatened to take the question of Dunnegan’s driveway and clearing of wetlands to federal authorities.

“You guy and gals: We elected you to take care of the place,” he said. “I’m enough of a jerk that I’m not going to take it. I’m going to be a jerk and take it to the feds, and by the end of the week you’re going to be digging up that road he put in at county expense.

“The federal rule is that you can’t touch the surface of wetlands. If we don’t want to go by the federal rules, let’s issue an injunction that we’re seceding from the union.”

Last modified June 9, 2017

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