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EP council gives initial nod to 'golf course' zoning

EP council gives initial nod to 'golf course' zoning
(Created: Wednesday, December 6, 2006 10:24 PM CST)

Although the Eden Prairie City Council said yes, tentatively, to the concept of a zoning classification called "golf course," it postponed action Monday on applying that designation to any of the four course that lie entirely or partly in the city limits.

Community Development Director Janet Jeremiah said input from the Metropolitan Council will be sought before the council considers adopting an ordinance creating the "golf course" classification, and certainly before any property is rezoned with that classification.

City Manager Scott Neal said the public hearings for rezoning of Bent Creek, Bearpath, Olympic Hills and Glen Lake golf courses were scheduled for Monday, and official notice had been issued.

However, all were postponed to Tuesday, Jan. 16 - as was the final decision on adoption of the ordinance creating the "golf course" classification.

Bruce Malkerson, an attorney representing Bent Creek principal owner Sam Hertogs, asked for, and got, a deletion from the resolution of any reference to the four courses.

City Attorney Ric Rosow said the resolution to create the zoning classification was not intended, by itself, to be the measure that rezoned the courses - and removing reference to Bent Creek, Bearpath, Olympic Hills and Glen Lake would not change the intent. (All the courses except Glen Lake lie entirely within the city limits. Any proposed changes at Glen Lake would affect only the portion that lies within Eden Prairie.)

Malkerson said he would defer any comment on the merits of the zoning, as it applies to Bent Creek, until the matter comes before the council on Jan. 16.

Then, he vowed, he would have plenty to say.

At the Nov. 13 meeting of the Eden Prairie Planning Commission, other attorneys representing Hertogs vowed they would fight in court if the city created the "golf course" designation and applied it to Bent Creek.

Hertogs' representatives said they object to the designation because they contend:

- There is nothing in the land's title to indicate any covenant that it must always remain as open space.

- The "golf course" designation is so restrictive, it would prevent landowners from making money that could be made if the land were sold to developers.

The Planning Commission voted Nov. 13 to recommend creating the "golf course" zone, and applying it to all four courses, following a lengthy public hearing.

Steve Celesnick of Eden Prairie, who spoke at the public hearing in favor of the "golf course" zoning and retaining Bent Creek as open space, also spoke at Monday's council meeting.

"There are no villains in this little drama here," he said. "The owner is only doing what he has to do, trying to maximize his profit. Your obligation, however, is to look out for the city's interests.

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