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Bait shop plan hits a snag in permit process

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Troy Lee thought his plans for a bait shop and sporting good store near Cedar Lake were moving along quite nicely.

Lee and his wife, Erica, had received a 4-1 favorable vote on a special exception permit by the Land Information Committee on Sept. 3, 2008.

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The couple hoped to construct a building on their nine-acre property on 206th Street to house the business, called Lee's Lucky Lures. Their home also sits on the land, which sits across the way from the popular fishing spot.

But the Land Information Committee reconsidered its previous action at its Dec. 17 meeting and voted 2-1 against the idea. As a result, the special exception permit was withdrawn.

Gary Spanel, Polk County zoning administrator, confirmed that the committee eventually rejected the special exception permit because the location for the proposed business was not in an identified commercial area in the Town of Alden's comprehensive plan.

The Lee proposal had received a favorable 4-1 vote by the committee previously, but that group decided to reconsider the matter. Spanel did say the township plan does allow for a special exception for a bait shop in the Cedar Lake area, but some committee members questioned if the exception applied because the business would sell more than bait and fishing supplies.

In his 30 years with the county, Spanel said he couldn't recall a time where a committee withdrew a previously-approved special exception permit.

"It's rather unusual," he said.

Spanel said Lee has several options in responding the recent action by the Land Information Committee. He can accept the decision or appeal to the County Board of Adjustments to review the matter.

Troy Lee, who previously owned and operated a bait and sporting goods store along Highway 8 in St. Croix Falls, said officials apparently felt his proposal did not mesh well with the Town of Alden master plan.

"But the plan does allow for tourist-related businesses within the Horse Creek and Little Falls areas," Lee said. "I don't think Polk County zoning has acted appropriately."

Lee said he hopes to review the situation over the next few weeks and decide what his next step might be.

"I'll make a few phone calls and decide from there," he said.

Lee, who operates the Stonewood Construction Inc., said he had hoped to operate the bait and sporting goods businesses on a part-time basis.

"It wouldn't provide me with my major income," he said. "It's just something I love to do."

Lee had hoped to build up the business enough to eventually retire and continue to operate near Cedar Lake.

"It's always been a dream of mine," he explained.

For the time being, Lee said, the dream has been derailed.

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