Monday, January 17, 2022

Thoughts on a variance

by By Larry Wilson
| December 29, 2021 6:55 AM

Since homestead days North Fork winters have been the time for discussing and arguing the big issues of the day and sometimes minor issues too. I remember Ella Wurtz and Lena Holcomb having a long feud over a package of dried peaches. The argument basically was that top-quality peaches were borrowed for a cobbler but repayment was with poor quality fruit. Who knows? I think they both enjoyed ongoing battles.

The same thing is true today! Only today the so-called social media has multiplied even faster than the winter population.

The application for a variance on Trail Creek Road has created a storm of comments, mostly against the variance, which I think is logical and under current regulations, will be automatically approved.

Current regulations require setbacks from public roads and from streams. These are good restrictions but there is an exception in the regulations, if a landowner’s property is such they cannot comply they shall receive a variance.

The property in question is bounded on the north by a stream and on the south by Trail Creek Road; the boundaries are too close together to comply with the setbacks and therefore shall be granted a variance.

Almost every neighbor is opposed and they list a variety of reasons. These objections range from valid concerns to the ridiculous. Mostly, I think that almost all residents, including me, feel that the increasing population on the North Fork is, or will destroy or alter our way of life in a negative way.

I think that has already happened. When I bought my land Kintla Road was sitting empty and one homesteader, Bart Monahan, accessed his property on the same road as I did.

Today, there are a dozen homes and cabins on that road and several have multiple cabins on them. That has certainly changed things. The problem is all of those people are on the North Fork for the same reason I am. I particularly like the families with kids who like the North Fork as I did as a kid. They enjoy the forest, seeing deer and splashing in the river. I can see them growing up and sharing at least some of my love for the North Fork.

How do we protect it? I don’t know. I think the setbacks and minimum lot sizes have helped. Unfortunately, much smaller pre-existed regulations and the few parcels are being split into 20-acre lots, and houses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars are being built. Only time will tell. What do you think?

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