Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 16, 2005

Family proposing to move road along Lake Ida

By Lynda Jensen
Editor

A controversial proposal to move a one-mile stretch of road near Lake Ida is meeting stout resistance in Woodland Township.

Mark and Suzy Matuska, who live on a stretch of road located on the east end of Lake Ida, are proposing to move it 600 feet to the east, on the other side of their house.

This will give them a good slice of lakeshore where the road used to be – making, they argue – a safer road, since it would be straight, rather than curved, as it is now around the lake.

However, 174 people who use the road, which follows the eastern shore of Lake Ida, signed a petition against the idea.

During an emotional public hearing April 30, a variety of reasons were cited against moving the road, which is considered a local scenic route by nearby residents.

Woodland Township resident Terri Allen uses the road for horseback riding, she said. This sentiment was echoed by others who travel the road for other reasons than to reach a destination.

The road, which is a section of Ferman Avenue, has been there 100 years and provides a natural protection against runoff into the lake, said Woodland resident Diane Jorgenson. She pointed out that there are a limited number of recreational areas in the township.

“We are counting on the board to please the majority and not two or three,” Jorgenson said.

If the road is moved, that section of Ferman Avenue would be vacated and a new road to the east would be constructed, which would be wider and straight, as opposed to curved.

The Matuskas would pay for the new road, with no cost being passed on to taxpayers, Clerk Gloria Janikula said.

At the meeting, Mark Matuska presented 40 letters of support from Woodland Township landowners in favor of moving the road.

The Matuskas cited the safety of their children as the reason for moving it, since the road runs past their house.

This isn’t sufficient for moving a road, said Woodland Township resident Ruth Diedrick.

Others echoed this sentiment.

Woodland resident Glen Jorgenson noted that the road was there when Matuska bought his land. Jorgenson said he didn’t care for the guilt complex being placed on others pertaining to safety.

The Matuskas have lived there since 1999.

Township residents Chris Bulera and Russ Olson, who are opposed to moving the road, submitted a letter saying it was “ridiculous” to move the road based mainly on the safety of Matuskas’ children.

Diedrick noted that in the past, her home place was split by a road and she learned to live with it.

Township resident Dick Borrell indicated moving the road would be an improvement. He is a former chairman of the soil and water board.

“As far as safety, kids do stupid stuff,” Borrell said. Borrell said he admits to doing stupid stuff and making mistakes. He asked the board to be reasonable.

Woodland resident Jim Trombley noted that not everything can be made safe, although he said that roads are not to be used as racetracks.

Concern about the environmental impact was expressed by John Entinger of the Winsted Sportsmen’s Club, which owns a landing in the immediate proximity of the road.

The club doesn’t want Lake Ida to turn into Lake Mary because of lawn runoff, Entinger said. He said that property owners have the right to clear vegetation, which is what happened at Lake Mary, he said.

Entinger noted a small lake such as Ida is affected more easily in this respect.

However, Woodland resident Dewey Gunderson pointed out that there is a culvert that routes ditch water from the east. Part of the plan for a new road would include building a retention sediment basin which would take Matuska’s runoff to a new retention pond.

The club, which has 42 members, maintains landings at Ida, Mary, Dog and Round Lakes.

Also concerned about the environment, Mike Ollig from the Lake Mary Homeowners Association said he was not in favor of anything that would disturb the lake, the quality of which isn’t a renewable resource.

Woodland Township resident Wayne Allen said he could remember when Lake Mary was like Lake Ida. He has lived through the residential development around Lake Mary, he said.

A township road is owned by residents of the township, Allen said.

Diedrick asked township officials if there is a plan to build more homes and wanted to know how many others would make similar requests.

Chris Caldwell, the daughter of Lorraine Peterson, who is a Woodland Township resident, asked why the Matuskas bought 38 acres of land if they didn’t plan to develop it.

The Matuskas maintain that they won’t develop the property, and indeed there are no building eligibilities, even with the purchase of additional property by the Matuskas to the north.

“Mark and I are not planning to build north of 118th Street on land we purchased from the Boylans,” Suzy Matuska noted in a written statement distributed at the meeting.

Others expressed concern that a precedence was being set.

Township officials plan to make their decision by Monday, June 13.

This story was written with the aid of township minutes, which are a matter of public record.


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