Gordon zoning change heads back to committee

In May, the zoning committee recommended denying a zoning change in Gordon; the county board refused to accept it.

Government Center in Superior.
Government Center Boardroom, Superior.
Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram

SUPERIOR — The Douglas County Board rejected a recommendation Thursday, June 16, to deny a zoning change to Preferred Living LLC in the town of Gordon.

Owner Quinn Musch sought the change from residential to commercial zoning to build a mini storage building on portions of two parcels on East Bass Lake Road, which was unanimously approved by the Gordon Town Board.

The 60-foot by 24-foot building will include nine storage units to be used by tenants of three duplexes in the area, with some units available to the public, Musch said. The unit will be surrounded by trees and was designed to blend into the landscape.

The county zoning committee recommended denying the zoning change in May after hearing from neighbors who said they were opposed to having a commercial zone in their residential neighborhood.

Musch said some of the tenants of the duplexes specifically requested the building for additional storage.


“There was concern about noise and just traffic flow, a visual eyesore, but there’s only one neighbor that would be able to see part of the building,” Musch said. “It’s going to blend into the landscape. It’s going to be minimal obtrusion into the landscape.”

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Supervisor Keith Allen questioned why the committee denied the zoning change.

“As Mr. Musch says, the building they want to construct out there can only be seen very slightly from one residence,” said Supervisor Mary Lou Bergman, chairperson of the zoning committee. “It really shouldn’t affect any of the rest of them. The town of Gordon has no where to go to expand and no comprehensive plan.”

Bergman said the zoning change should be approved and the denial should be rejected. The Gordon Town Board was disappointed that their decision to approve the zoning change was overridden by the committee, she said.

“I think we should get out of the town business,” Supervisor Sue Hendrickson said. “We don’t need to supervise. We don’t need to check them.”

Building the storage unit in an area that already has three duplexes makes sense, Hendrickson said.

Supervisor Nick Baker, who served on the zoning committee when the zoning change was denied, no longer serves on the committee. He was among the members who voted to deny the zoning change because it was a form of spot zoning.

“My feeling is that it’s very clear that we’ve talked about spot zoning,” Baker said. “It has to benefit everyone in the area.”


Douglas County Board Chair Mark Liebaert said after the board rejected the recommendation to deny the zoning change, the matter will be referred to committee to approve the zoning change.

The next zoning committee meeting is in August because the county board and its committees don’t meet in July.

In other business:

  • The board will establish the protocol for selecting a new county board chair in the event of a vacancy. The first vice chair will serve on an interim basis until the county board selects its new leadership at the meeting following the vacancy.
  • The board adopted a policy that will allow members to attend meetings by audio and video conferencing. While members will be allowed to participate in the discussion, virtual attendance will not count toward establishing a quorum, and members who attend virtually will not be permitted to vote on matters before the board.
Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or
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