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County sees details of proposed cabins

Staff writer

If a group of siblings have their way, four rental cabins will be open at Marion County Park and Lake in time for Memorial Day.

Heather Holub spoke on behalf of herself and siblings Chris, Molly, and Tamra during a County Commission meeting Monday. The siblings want to build cabins in the area near the heated fishing dock.

Commissioner Dan Holub recused himself from discussion of his children’s plans.

They are proposing to start with four cabins and an office west of the heated dock. The cabins would be 24 feet by 16 feet with 12-by-16 lofts.

The ground floor would include a living room and kitchenette, bathroom with shower, and a full bed. The loft, accessible by a pull-down ladder, would have two twin beds. The cabins would have log cabin siding, inside and out.

The group is asking for a 99-year lease because it would improve their ability to obtain good loan terms.

They are proposing paying 2.1 percent of gross revenue to the county. That proposal is based on the federal government’s arrangement with similar developments elsewhere, Holub said.

Calculating from a 50 percent occupancy rate and a $100 per night fee, they project $73,000 in annual revenue. Including sales tax and bed tax, the county would receive $6,683 of that revenue.

The cabin owners would be responsible for insuring the cabins and providing annual proof of insurance to the county.

In addition to the direct financial benefits to the county, the cabins would provide other economic benefits, she said. Financing and construction of the cabins would be obtained in the county, as would contracted services such as cleaning, mowing, and accounting. The cabins would also create two or three part-time jobs initially. Promotion of the cabins would also necessarily include promotion of the county lake.

She said she didn’t anticipate direct competition with bed and breakfasts or motels because they are different enough.

Marion resident Margaret Wilson and lake resident Gordon Pendergraft said they supported development of cabins, but they had concerns and questions.

Wilson asked where parking would be for the cabins. Holub said it would be at the south end of the development. With that concern addressed, Wilson said she would happily be one of the first to rent a cabin.

Pendergraft asked what would happen if the business went under. Holub said the proposed agreement includes a requirement to return the land to its original state in that case.

Pendergraft also said he was concerned about traffic safety in the area. He urged commissioners to have the area patrolled more.

Commissioners asked Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson for his input. He said visitors ask at least twice a week whether there are rentable cabins at the lake.

Commissioners said they wanted County Attorney Susan Robson to review the proposed contract before making any decisions.

Holub said a contract and Planning Commission approval would be needed before applying for loans. The next Planning Commission meeting is Jan. 20.

If the cabins are approved and become a success, four more could be built at that site. Higher- and lower-priced cabins could also be developed elsewhere at the lake.

Resident asks about golf carts at lake

Lake resident Jim Newkirk asked commissioners’ permission to drive a golf cart at the county lake. With limited mobility, a golf cart would help him get where he needs to go more easily. He thanked commissioners for previous approval to use a scooter for mobility.

Sheriff Rob Craft said cities may adopt resolutions allowing golf carts on streets, but no state statute explicitly gives that authority to counties.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he had no problem with it as long as the county established strong rules regarding things such as age requirements and insurance.

Commissioners referred the matter to Robson.

Last modified Dec. 9, 2010

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