Residents voice concerns over new building regulations

Town of Highland Lake

The meeting room at The Anchor was almost full for last week’s Highland Lake Town Council meeting as residents voiced their concerns over a building regulation that sets a minimum square footage on any new construction within the town.

Karen Hawkins addressed the council and presented a petition showing displeasure by signers who want the council to reconsider a portion of the ordinance as it relates to a home’s minimum square footage rebuild in the event of fire or “acts of God.”

The petition states, “We the undersigned, petition the Mayor and sitting Council of the Town of Highland Lake to amend Ordinance HL16-01 to include a “grandfathering” clause that will give owners, many of whom are senior citizens, of the older, near-historic homes the CHOICE to rebuild their home lost by an act of God to the original footprint up to the current 1,800 sq. ft. requirement.”

Several residents spoke out in support of the petition. One resident said she and her husband did not want to add to their home with more square footage to clean while another added, “We need codes but we can go overboard.”

“We are being told we can’t live on our own land,” said another. One resident spoke out saying he had done more than $10,000 in renovations. One resident in the audience added,“ I’ve been thrown out to the ditch like I have for the past six months.” Another pleaded with the council, “Do something for these folks who have spent their entire lifetime here.”

During the regular session, the council discussed the spring 2020 expenditure of $6,000 to control water lilies and discussed a long-range plan to control silt runoff.

The roads committee reported that they are looking at resurfacing Cedar Road and Lakeshore Road as well as resurfacing some feeder roads into Lakeshore. The report indicated the need to replace a culvert on Lakeshore/ Bear Creek sometime next year, but costs of materials have jumped 123 percent.

The Lakeshore project will be a reclamation of the road next year with the county doing the work. An estimated cost of $96,600 includes installation of three culverts and repairing the road with tar and gravel. If approved by the council, the project could be included in the county’s 2022 paving schedule.

The Highland Lake Council meets the first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.