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Community Members Fight Residential Development Plans

A local developer wants to convert the 18-hole Parkview Golf Club into a 175-unit residential development.

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When Pat Campbell moved to the neighborhood surrounding Parkview Golf Club in Eagan 18 years ago, he thought he'd found his own slice of "Shangri-La."

The neighborhood, anchored by the easy-going executive course, is quiet, walkable and well-maintained. And nearly every nearby resident has some emotional connection or story to tell about Parkview—the last 18-hole course in Eagan.

“It's our Buck Hill of golf, that's the way we look at it, because it’s a great intro course for kids," said Campbell, paying homage to Burnsville's ski resort.

That's partly why Campbell and a growing group of neighbors and community members are so opposed to a local developer's plans to convert the golf course into a 175-unit residential development.

On May 22, Eagan's Advisory Planning Commission is expected to hold a public hearing to consider a Comprehensive Guide Plan amendment request by Hunter Emerson, a company represented by local developer Kurt Manley.

If the planning commission recommends approval, the comprehensive plan amendment would go to the Metropolitan Council for approval before returning to the Eagan City Council for final approval. Before the development could move forward, the council would also have to approve a subsequent rezoning request, according to Community Development Director Jon Hohenstein.  

Manley, who wasn't available for comment, told Sun Thisweek Newspapers that Hunter Emerson has been weighing purchase of the golf course property for a long time. Home prices would range from $200,000 to $650,000, according to the newspaper. Hunter Emerson currently has a purchase agreement for the 80-acre property, according to City Planner Mike Ridley.

A preliminary concept plan submitted to the city calls for walking trails and trail connections to nearby parks, a common pool, and a density of 2.18 homes per acre. Development of a portion of the site could begin as early as this year, according to the preliminary plans. The golf course is currently zoned private recreational, but would need to be rezoned to low-density residential, Hohenstein said.

Editor's Note: To view a sketch of the preliminary concept plan, click on the PDF attached to this article.

Campbell and an array of community members have stringently opposed Hunter Emerson's plans for Parkview. At a neighborhood meeting on the back deck of a neighbor's home overlooking the golf course on Monday, Campbell and others voiced concerns about increased traffic and drainage issues if the housing development is approved.

But Campbell and others assert that the proposed development is also a community-wide issue. To get their views out, Campbell and other opponents have already started circulating a petition and created a Facebook page.

"Eagan is close to being fully developed, and so when a parcel like this becomes available, it’s not like Elko and Lakeville, where you might have a lot of property available,” Campbell said. "It’s not just a transaction at that point, it’s more of a decision by the city as to what are we going to do with this last piece of open property."

Campbell and his neighbors also wonder if Eagan's housing market can support a new housing development of this scale.

Hohenstein said Eagan's current housing developments, including Stonehaven, have seen quite a bit of activity. The city's proximity to major freeways and attractions means is still a "demand location", Hohenstein said.

Rosco May 18, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Since Carriage Hills course was zoned for residential our neighborhood has been spoiled. The noise and traffic are horrible. They aren't very far in building either. If I could move I would. You might as well live in DT Mpls. Noise and traffic all day/night. Fight this all the way. Any council members who vote to develop this area should be fired.
linda May 18, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I'm not a golfer, but I strongly believe this golf course should stay - for the generations to come. When I drive by there, I feel peace and it's important for generations to come. If this goes, it will never be replaced. WHY, WHY city council members destroy it? This is a treasure in the community and it has a great history. If it goes, it's gone forever. Do you really want that? This is a community and it's for the community to use if they choose -- not a developer that will forever take it away. Think about it very seriously.
Anna Schier May 18, 2012 at 09:32 PM
What do you think about Campbell's concerns regarding housing in Eagan? Will a development of this size negatively impact the market?
Carolyn Romberg May 19, 2012 at 05:37 AM
Anna, I don't think that there is a need for more housing developments in Eagan...in general, there are many options for currently built homes in many surrounding communities, including Eagan...look at what has happened at Carriage Hills ( see Rosco's comment above). As Linda mentions above, WHY should city council members support this rezoning proposal from Park/Rec to residential development? I moved here from Ithaca, NY about 14 years ago and was so impressed by the parks, trails, etc...the natural beauty encouraged in this community. Parkview is also the last 18-hole Golf Course in Eagan and draws people from many surrounding communities as well as a nationwide reputation.
Jim Lit May 19, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Let me preface my remarks by saying I had some first hand knowledge of Carriage. This strikes of similarity to the Carriage Hills fiasco. The neighbors surrounding the course fought it. The city council vacillated on the zoning change. It was in the courts for several years before the court threw it back to let the Eagan citizens vote on it. Then proposal was written so poorly that it passed. Wensman was the intended purchaser, but 3 days after the vote, they filed bankruptcy and are now totally out of business. I believe Lennar now owns it and has built a few homes on the property. If the Parkview residents are going to fight it, be prepared to negotiate. Remember, a half of loaf is better than no loaf at all. I used to play Carriage Hills, but the Rahn's who also own Rich Valley managed to screw up Carriage by forcing a driving range where it did not fit and altering the course layout poorly and in the end lost a lot of leagues and good customers with their poor handling of the course. And that in a nutshell is the Carriage story.
Anna Schier May 19, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Thanks Carolyn and Jim, for sharing your opinions and insights!
Ken Coy May 20, 2012 at 07:51 PM
The thing that bothers me is that city councils consistently cater to "developers" who promise more tax revenue for the city by putting in strip malls or housing developments where there once was farmland (i.e. Gardens of Eagan), golf courses (i.e. Carriage Hills), or other businesses (i.e. Med Cruise). What you usually end up with are more empty store fronts or mediocre-quality housing, while the developers take their money and run. The ultimate cost is that some quality of life is lost and can never be regained.
Carolyn Romberg May 21, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Ken, I think you summed it up! Perhaps the city council should start listening to what the people of Eagan care about.
Senore Taxpayer May 25, 2012 at 02:31 AM
I'm sick and tired of seeing our government officials continue to vote in more commercial development, more housing and continue to focus on how they can increase the tax base and at the same time have something they can say they "accomplished" while in office. Don't keep developing and destroying the open spaces in Eagan. Why doesn't the city invest in the course and really do something for the community like preserve something as special as the Park View Golf course. Why don't you do something for your aging baby boomers and preserve something they can enjoy as well? I'm not at all impressed with our elected officials...they all just seem to cave in and have no real backbone, creative instincts, or long term strategic vision.

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