In Orono, a dispute over developing an aging golf course

  • Article by: Tom Meersman , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 26, 2013 - 2:53 PM

Neighbors want the Lakeview course land to remain undeveloped, but its buyer plans to build a cluster of high-end homes there.

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arspartzDec. 24, 13 8:18 PM

He who owns the land makes the rules. If you want your view, buy the land and pay the property taxes.

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mrmoderateDec. 24, 13 8:20 PM

NIMBY (not in my backyard) in prime form. Orono is a republican community. Funny thing how republicans support property rights and less government - yet somehow the local residents want to fight the current owner from selling to a Private company. Building homes = jobs. Seriously. So much for market forces? By the way, local residents can come up with millions to fight the project yet I'm guessing these same residents would appose property tax increases. Oh yeah, the council just approved a flat levy.

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orono77Dec. 25, 1312:38 AM

@ arspartz – The new owners can develop the land, however, as per the 2008-2030 Orono Community Management Plan, they cannot do so until 2030. The new owners can follow your suggestion and pay those property taxes until 2030 and then go about their turn and burn housing boom.

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orono77Dec. 25, 1312:54 AM

@ mrmoderate – As my screen name might suggest I am an Orono resident, have been for five decades. I am not a Republican, I do support property rights and less government but do not support development of this land as suggested by the new owners. My reasoning is based in a promise the Orono City Council made to preserve "Park, Recreation, and Open Space" in the 2008-2030 Orono Community Management Plan, which was passed by the Council with wide community support. Judging from the many signs up around Orono I would venture to guess we'll have turnover in the City Council should this development be allowed to proceed. Fortunately we have some smart, community-minded council people who understand the politics of this community.

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jhb8426Dec. 25, 13 1:00 AM

Want it to be a park, make the owner a better offer. They claim to have millions pledged to fight this. If that's the case, just buy it.

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docenzoDec. 25, 13 2:09 AM

That's a silly comment, mrmoderate. These neighbors have every right to question the City amending the Comprehensive Plan; after all, when buying a house or property, that's the one document you can look at and feel relatively secure about a City's plans for its land. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for this development. In fact, I have consulted for a number of housing developers. If you think NIMBY is a Republican issue, consider that I worked for one developer proposing to build subsidized housing in perhaps the Twin Cities' most liberal area, in St. Paul. You've never seen such a firestorm of neighborhood opposition. Oh, and the Comp Plan had the land guided for high-density residential. I guess it was the "subsidized" part they didn't like.

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Audi5000fwdDec. 25, 13 2:19 AM

Mrmoderate has nailed it. I'm guessing that preventing another flotilla of McMansions into Orono will keep the supply/demand balance for existing home prices, much stronger too.

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jplamp9Dec. 25, 13 5:30 AM

Suggest the well-heeled Orono opposition go down the environmentalist path and find some threatened or endangered species. Maybe the few remaining habitats for red squirrels, rare frog, bird migration path, etc. That's a virtual stop sign for any new development.

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antisuburbsDec. 25, 13 5:36 AM

why don't they just buy the golf course and run it at a huge annual loss if they like it so much? You are not entitled to keep the same view you had when you bought your house. Your land can stay how you want it, but the world around your house can change. That's just a fact of life. The golf course is no longer profitable and the owner wishes to sell it. This reminds me of the TV show host preservationist that prevented a man in uptown that is sick with cancer from selling his house to a developer so he could pay for chemo.

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chuckdancerDec. 25, 13 7:07 AM

These guys purchased a golf course. I don't believe they have a right to turn the golf course into something completely different. The community can give their plans a look and they can try to sell those plans as the right way to go. Just because somebody wants to act doesn't strip everybody else of all power to protect their community from radical change.

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