Planning commission recommends approval of permit for Blue Mound retreat

Updated: Mar 10

MOUND CITY – A proposal to build a small-scale peaceful retreat and resort north of Blue Mound city lake got an anything-but-peaceful reception from some of its neighbors at the Linn County Planning Commission hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

Karen A. Webster, owner of HOLISPA LLC, applied for a conditional use permit to operate the retreat on 47 acres just north of the lake. Webster’s plan included building a 5,000-square-foot main building with up to six individual cabins around the plot.

The cabins would be moveable 300-square-foot structures that would sleep two and have a kitchenette, bathroom, a deck and a hot tub. Webster’s plan included making walking trails, providing massages and yoga services, and a natural swimming pool.

The 47-acre tract, which is on the southwest corner of the 600 Road and Cassida Road intersection, is currently owned by Byron Thieret of Thieret Family LLC. It’s sale to Webster’s company was contingent on Webster being able to get a conditional use permit.

She got a green light for the project from the planning commission, who voted 8 to 1 to recommend the Linn County Commission issue the permit. The county commissioners will consider the application Monday, Feb. 28.

Planning and zoning Director Bobby Young in his report recommended issuing the conditional use permit saying that the proposed use would fit into the agricultural character of the neighborhood and that it would not detrimentally affect nearby properties.

Conditions for the permit included beginning construction of the project within one year after the permit is improved. Webster must also apply for an extension to the permit after five years.

In her application for the permit, Webster said the project, called the HOLISPA Nestled Breath Retreat – In the Cedars at Blue Mound, would be the expansion on her vision to “create a private, peaceful, grounded and supportive space.”

She said it would operated as a private rental space accessible through private client bookings and other Internet companies like Airbnb. She also said in her proposal that Blue Mound would be an ideal area because it provides a “combination of peaceful, beautiful natural land and warm and friendly community.”

However, several of the people who live around the proposed retreat were anything but friendly and took the opportunity during the hearing to voice concerns and issue stark warnings. Neighbors warned of snakes, the danger of flying bullets from target practice at the lake, and threats of lawsuits if visitors to the retreat wandered onto their property.

One neighbor worried whether their water pressure would be affected by the retreats usage. However, Webster had a letter from Bourbon County Rural Water District No. 4 stating the district could provide 28,000 gallons of water per day to the facility.

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