Residents concerned about lake properties

Concerns about the Marion County Park and Lake’s planning and zoning regulations, and the lack of enforcement, took center stage at Monday’s commission meeting.

Donna Kaiser, a lake resident, said: “We have homes at the lake and recently some lots were sold to the west of us to three different gentlemen.

“One building is already up and not in compliance with any of the regulations—it is not a dwelling, it does not have sewer or water—it’s simply a storage building.” 

The next lot, Kaiser said, is owned by Merle Flaming, who was unaware of regulations that a dwelling needed to be there.

After investigating the issue himself, Kaiser said he was going to put in an efficiency unit, but it is still living quarters.

Kaiser said the importance of this issue to her, and other lake residents, is that the residential areas are turning into storage sheds.

“Our little house is on the west side of the lake, but there are some vacant lots on the other side,” she said. “A lot of retired people live out there and when they pass on, and their kids inherit or they sell, there could be a whole lot of big storage shed buildings with the nice homes on Lois Lane and that area.”

She said she believes something needs to be done now to stop the lake community from looking like a storage shed and not a residential area, which is why I brought this to the commission.

“The shed that was already up is not in compliance at all,” Kaiser said. “I want to make a stand now by saying ‘no’ this is my home, this is where I live, and I don’t want to live with a lot of buildings where people just put their toys in and drive away.”

According to Kaiser, the regulations state that no building, structure, land or premises shall be constructed, reconstructed, moved or altered unless it’s for having a single-family dwelling.

Substantiating her claim, Kaiser said that on July 20, 2017, Lin Slifer was issued a permit for a dwelling on 1758 Upland Road, which is in Grandview Village, lot 45.

“It is a storage building,” she said. “In 2019, it was learned the other lots were sold to residents of the lake who wanted storage buildings for their lake toys, too.”

Two years ago, she said, Don Molleker, another county lake resident, wanted to build a storage building on his lot that was not attached to the lot where his house is and was told he could not put up a shed unless it had living quarters in it.

“(Molleker) went through the proper steps to remove the easement between his two properties so he could comply with the regulations,” she said.

Kaiser said she also spoke with Sharon Olmsted, director of the county planning and zoning, and asked her why are the new owners being allowed to disregard the regulations?

After doing some checking, and conferring with Lisa Reeder, county appraiser, the interpretation of the regulations was that if there were sewer and water, it was habitable. It is by those benchmarks, Kaiser said, that Olmsted uses when determining if it meets the requirements.

County counselor Brad Jantz said the county has the ability to do certain things, and Sharon asked me about this, too.

“With zoning, we are establishing a minimum standard, and that can be related to everything from hygiene and public safety,” Jantz said. “And, the really salient point about that is we do not regulate aesthetics.”

It’s a residential area, he said, and within the law established as zoning, the county ensured that the extent intended by saying someone would have to have living quarters in it, Jantz said.

“It doesn’t say you have to live there one day a year or 356 days a year,” he said.

Jantz said there are options to include restrictive covenants, and every person buying property at the lake would have to follow very strict rules.

“Under the county code, we don’t have the ability to regulate if someone puts up a metal building, but puts in that minimum standard of living quarters to tell them they can’t,” Jantz said.

In addition, Kaiser talked with Nadine Iseli, who is a member of the improvement district, who said she has nothing to do with zoning regs—only water and sewer permits.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said there’s someone with two lots and if the county can hold up construction.

Jantz said: “Not really.”

Options were discussed to include a homeowners’ association.

The commission, in other business:

was provided a quarterly report from Gayla Ratzlaff, coordinator of the Department on Aging, which highlighted activities and events from January through March. She provided statistical data on federal, state and homestead numbers completed. In addition, Ratzlaff said the Senior Citizens of Marion County board met in Tampa, choosing their 2019 scholarship recipient. She also stated National Volunteer Week was April 7-13, which was a time to honor all the volunteer drivers, newsletter and commodity volunteers.

tabled three bids that would enhance the quality and sound when televising commission meetings, said County Clerk Tina Spencer. The audio-video bids included Electronic Contracting Company Inc. at a cost of $24,742 (with wireless microphones it would be $41,711. SKC Communications’ bid using two cameras was $20,482, and McClelland Sound, headquartered in Kansas City, bid $26,750.

heard from Novak, who said the aforementioned bids were “Cadillac proposals.” And, with public interest low, Novak provided information stating that in the last four weeks activity was only 102, 40, 34, and 91 hits last month. Becker said the people he spoke with weren’t concerned about the picture as much as they were about the sound and not being able to hear it. Novak offered to buy a $500 microphone at her cost. But, Dallke suggested with a five-member board to have five microphones with speaker.

Yvonne Cushenberry, who volunteered to tape the commission meetings said: “When I first started doing this, nobody really wanted me to do it. Everyone wanted to know why I was doing it and what I was going to do with it. Somebody even said that people might not want to be recorded—and nobody has. Becker and Dallke suggested having a $2,000 limit to use for a microphone. Novak, concerned about cost, said because the sound is the problem.

commission candidate Jonah Goering asked if he could donate an oxford extension to one of these pics to go on the table. In addition, Goering said he could talk with Chris Glanzer with Pro Audio and see what he thinks. “Plus, it’s a local business,” he said.