Back Lot Development

Another topic of interest to the DLIA in the 80’s was that of back lot development. Could Polk County regulate lake back lots? That question was raised at the Zoning Committee meeting in early September of 1980. The issue arose because of a conflict on Balsam Lake. Balsam Lake Homeowners’ Association was concerned about a possible situation that could result in “letting numerous back lot owners have access to the lake,” (Standard Press, September 11, 1980). A group of interested lake owners representing four Polk County Lake Associations met to discuss problems that could occur with back lot development. They favored back lot development regulation and opposed access to lakes across their existing property. They recommended that each lake association appoint two members to study the problem and make recommendations to the Polk County Zoning Board (Minutes of the meeting of Polk County Lake Associations, January, 17, 1981).

The DLIA asked that all Polk County’s lake associations make suggestions for a county ordinance to limit back lot development. Zoning administrator, Gary Spanel was asked by the zoning committee to draw up recommendations for the ordinance (Standard Press, July 9, 1981). What action resulted at that time is not known. Known is that the first shoreline zoning took place in 1967 and as of 2008 private lake access from non-lake lots was regulated. Called “private access outlets” access must be 50 feet in width for the entire depth. Each strip cannot serve more than five single-family dwellings. No camping, RV parking or structures can take place on the access strip (Polk County Shoreline Ordinances, Article D).

From the 1990’s to the present, the Deer Lake Improvement Association has been increasingly active. The Corporation Articles were revised, many earlier projects were continued, and many new projects were undertaken.