My name is Marilyn Arness.  I live on the north shore of Maple Lake, south of Mentor.  The house I live in was built in 1910 on property surveyed  by Polk Co. surveyors in 1902,  and purchased from the county by W.L.Wilder.  Mr. Wilder had the house and a garage built by a professional builder. The blue print for the house was made by DeRemers, a Grand Forks architect.  Wilder used the property until the late 1920’s when the depression forced him to leave and the property ownership reverted to the county. Polk County needed to sell the property  to get the tax income. My uncle, Raymond H. Espe, Polk Co. Clerk of Court (1934-1974) purchased the property during the winter of 1935-36 for the county’s asking price and paid the back taxes. The lakeside property held the house and a garage. Across Crescent Ave (now known as Sandy Beach Rd SE) a backlot (not lakeside but farm property) was also purchased and planted into an orchard.

    I inherited the 2 parcels when Uncle Ray died 4-07-1992. In 2007 I received a letter from Widseth, Smith & Nolting, Crookston surveyors, who are under an arrangement with Polk County,  stating that my properties were all correct and in order!

    Sometime after I received that letter, the County Commissioners decided to change the method of surveying from magnetic north (using a compass, transit, etc) to GIS true north (from a satellite). Who knew? Did you? I do not know when Polk Co. officially began using the GIS system but I do know now that’s when my problems began. In 1902 the survey started near the Maple Lake pavilion and surveyed west to east. This new survey (GIS) switched directions and surveyed east to west from a point about 2 miles east of Mentor.

    My questions are:  

    • Why didn’t the survey of my property begin at the line WSN said (in 2007) was proper and correct? NO…they took a new GIS point and measured my property and moved it west. How can they say I’m wrong now after the lines were correct since 1902? I don’t know when they officially began using the new system. Why weren’t we informed? Didn’t they know we would be affected?  Perhaps they didn’t care. They had the power.

    • When the properties west of mine need to be surveyed are they going to put the first property in 1902 in the middle of Co. Rd. 12? Or do the land owners just lose their land? Or will Co. Rd. 12 be reconfigured and also moved west?  The farm land owned by Esther Nesland located at the corner of Co. Rd. 12 and Sandy Beach Rd. is now owned by Griffins,  Thiberts, + Oak Cove Trailer Park. It is important for you to know that GIS lines ARE NOT ABSOLUTE!!!  They may be “off”  several feet.

    • All the backlot properties from the Pavillion corner west to and including the Fred Loomis/Louise Wellman/Chuck Wellman/Deanne Owre family properties were grandfathered in and my information says “FOREVER”!  These properties are all backlots (farm category) NOT lakeside.  Their boundaries were like mine…parallel to Co. Rds. 12 + 10.  Now they are screwed up.

     • How much Polk Co. history do the Commissioners and other paid county employees know?  Apparently not much! What knowledge do the commissioners have that I don’t know?  I have been on my property my entire life of 81 yrs. Nothing has changed since 18’ of woods added in the 50’s. How long does someone have to own/occupy/pay taxes on land before the county must leave it alone?  Isn’t 116 years enough?

    • Do the commissioners even know that the backlots north of Sandy Beach Rd were measured in squares or rectangles that had north/south lot lines that run parallel to Co. Rd 12 on the west and Co. Rd 10 on the east? Now they are making our properties into parallelograms and they won’t fit. My back lot is not lake property. It is a separate parcel with its own tax record. Maple Lake and Sandy Beach Rd are the N/S boundaries of my lakeside property.

    Polk County Commissioners better do a little studying of the history they are working with!  I would like to know why they wanted to be a county commissioner. Prestiege? Money? Where are the checks/balances for county employees?

    I did ask for time to speak to the Commissioners at one of their meetings and time was granted…not enough, but some. I think they had their minds made up to “blow me off” before I entered the room. My own commissioner was NO help to me. The impressions they emit of knowing what is best for us isn’t always the best!! Better yet…let the surveyors re-do Crookston’s or any Polk Co. residential areas and correct them to GIS. Polk County Voters  beware of what they may do to you! I would like my property restored to its former/correct lines (along with the other properties GIS screwed up). I would also like to be financially reimbursed for the mega money I lost trying to save what was legally mine. (ha ha to that).  
     The ballot box talks and may be the only solution. Perhaps you voters can help me educate the Polk County Commissioners about things they ought to know and then correct what they have destroyed.

    Talk to your neighbors and find out why some properties are left as they were and some get moved. Let me know what you think.  Call me at 637-2968 or 218-280-1677.

Marilyn Arness
Mentor, Minnesota