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County approves plan for business with professed ties to outer space

Nov 28, 2018 03:49PM ● By Editor

The night sky.  Photo:  Flickr

By Joe Friedrichs - WTIP Radio News - November 28, 2018

There was a meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, Nov. 27.

One item on the agenda that surfaced during the public comment period and was discussed by county staff and the commissioners at length was a request from Cook County property owners Christine Day and Alisa Logan to continue running their business near Lake Superior and Highway 61.  According to its website, the business hosts retreats called “Gateway to the Galactic Community." Listed on the county’s agenda as a “meditation center,” the retreats on the property include attempts to connect with visitors from outer space.

Kristin Sobanja lives near the property owned by Day and Logan and said it is not a good fit for such retreats.

Sobanja and some of the other neighbors who have expressed concern have been disturbed by what takes place during the retreats.

“The wailing and chanting to call the aliens in,” Sobanja said, “to do whatever they do. It’s affecting quality of life.”

Bill Lane from the county’s land services department brought forward interim-use permit (IUP) requests from Day and Logan regarding the use of their property near Lake Superior. The details of the IUP request were shared at the November meeting of the local planning commission. In addition, there were some who came to the planning commission meeting speaking both in favor of and against the meditation retreats held on the property.

Day and Logan purchased the property in 2013 and have been holding retreats there for at least several years, Lane said.
Under the terms of the IUP, Day and Logan must meet certain requirements to continue running the business from the property, according to Lane. Those include select hours of seasonal operations, how many people can attend the retreats and obeying property lines with the neighbors. The planning commission supported the IUP with these attached restrictions with a unanimous vote.

Commissioner Bobby Deschampe said that after listening to Sobanja during the public comment period of Tuesday’s meeting, he would be concerned if this situation presented itself in his neighborhood.

Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk said she struggled with placing all of the restrictions on this local business, but also understood some of the complaints shared by the neighbors.

Commissioner Myron Bursheim, who represents the neighborhood under discussion, said he was concerned by some of the comments shared by property owners who live near Day and Logan. Bursheim said it did not feel like the business had enough restrictions in order to operate legally in Cook County. Therefore, he said he would not support the request in its current form.

Citing previous permits the county has issued with certain conditions, including an art gallery owned by Steve and Sharon Frykman in Cook County, Commissioner Jan Sivertson said it would be unfair to vote against the meditation center at the property owned by Day and Logan.  Meanwhile, Bursheim said the nature of the two businesses when comparing the Frykmans art gallery with Logan and Day’s meditation center are two different things.

Board Chair Ginny Storlie said there could be more instances in the future of Cook County where people move here to operate a business from their home, and it could be time to start planning for this type of rural development.  

After a lengthy discussion on the IUP for the meditation center, the county board approved the interim-use request on Tuesday on a 3-2 vote, with Bursheim and Deschampe voting not to support. 

You can listen to an audio report accompanying this story by follow this link to the WTIP website.

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