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Basic Facts & History

Carriage_Hills_Sign– Carriage Hills Golf Course is a public course  consists of 5,844 Yards, Par 71, 2 Tees, 18 scenic public holes. Directions: I-35E to Yankee Doodle exit, E on Yankee Doodle, right on Wescott Woodlands Drive to club house on right.

– Carriage Hills Golf Course could be LOST to residential development.

– The 120-acre course is presently designated as Public Facility by the City of Eagan’s Comprehensive Guide Plan which regulates local land use.

– Appropriate uses of land designated as Public Facility include open space, parks & recreation, schools, churches, hospitals, and golf courses.

– There must be an amendment of the City of Eagan’s Comprehensive Guide Plan from Public Facility to Residential (0-4 units per acre; 120 acres = 0 – 480 units.)

– If the amendment is granted, Wensmann Homes, Inc. intends to build the maximum allowed 4 units per acre throughout most of the 120-acre lot. consisting of condos, town homes, and single-family homes.

– The City of Eagan is required to follow city procedure and give developers due process.

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– When an amendment is DENIED, as it was in 1996 and 2004, the developer is released from their purchase option and the current owners can sell the golf course to another party who is interested in Public Facility development.

– The burden of proof to justify requested changes lies solely on the developer and current property owners to prove why the requested land use is more beneficial to the citizens than the current land use.

– Any change in the City of Eagan’s Comprehensive Guide Plan requires 4 of the 5 members to vote in favor of an amendment, but the City can approve a Special Area Plan (SAP) which would also allow the developer to change the area forever.

– In 1996 the City Council listened to citizens and DENIED a request to change the guide plan.

– In August of 2004 the City Council listened again to citizens and DENIED a similar request to change the guide plan.

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The Rahn’s knew when they bought the golf course that the citizens expected the golf course to stay a golf course and for the Comprehensive Guide Plan to always be upheld.

– In November 2005, Rahn Family Limited Partnership and Wensmann Realty Inc took the decision of the City to District Court and on April 28, 2005 District Court Judge Patrice Sutherland ruled in favor of the Rahn Family Limited Partnership and Wensmann Realty, Inc. The ruling stated that the City of Eagan must either amend the property’s zoning to allow for the housing development or begin eminent domain proceedings to take the 40-year old public golf course within 30 days.

– In May of 2005 the City of Eagan appealed Judge Sutherland’s ruling.

– November 29, 2005 the City Council unanimously agreed to settle the dispute with Wensmann Realty allowing the developer to build the exact same number of units (480) on the property along with a small 9 hole golf course which 10-15 acres of less Open Space than the original plan.

tree8– December 27, 2005 Eagan Advisory Planning Commission heard the issue again. This time because of fear of loosing control over the planning of the development, the Commission voted 4-3 in favor of changing the Comprehensive Guide Plan and the area’s designation from Park to Special Area allowing development of the golf course.

– January 17, 2006 Eagan City Council listened to the citizens concerns and unanimously denied the settlement plan sending the issue back to court where the Minnesota Supreme Court of Appeals will hear the case.

Pros & Cons that effect YOUR family

Benefits of Development:

– 480 more units.
– Increased tax base.
– Potential for developers and the Rahn’s to profit financially.

Negative Effects of Development:

– 120 acres of open space lost FOREVER.
– Loss of prime recreational space.
– Decreased property values in area neighborhoods.
– 480 new families in an already congested area.
Increased traffic of 3033 vehicles each day coming and going for this one neighborhood!
– Loss of precious wetlands, wildlife, and habitat.
– Strain on police, fire, streets, water, sewer, maintenance, etc.

Benefits of Keeping Carriage Hills for Public Facility Use:

– The City of Eagan’s Comprehensive Guide Plan made by Eagan citizens, school district 196, and the City to influence important public policy decisions and projections will be adhered to.

– Availability of valuable open recreational space for current and future Eagan citizens.

CHleaves1– Goals of the City of Eagan’s Comprehensive Guide Plan
to preserve open space achieved including;
increased public health and safety, recreation,
community beautification, natural resources preservation,
reduced air pollution, water quality preservation, flood control,
and conflict between land uses.

– Acknowledgement of the Eagan Park System Plan
which states that Carriage Hills Golf Course is an integral
part of the City’s recreation and open space system, and the
city derives many benefits from the course.

 

Issue’s History:

Wensmann Homes, Inc. submitted an application to the City if Eagan requesting a change to the Comprehensive Guide Plan.

If the amendment was granted, Wensmann Homes intended to build 480 units (condos, town homes, & single-family) on the picturesque 120-acre parcel after submitting a preliminary pat and zoning change application.

Wensmann Homes, Inc. held a neighborhood meeting at the Eagan Community Center on
June 7, 2004.

June 22, 2004 The Advisory Planning Commission voted UNANIMOUSLY
to deny the proposed change in the city’s comprehensive guide plan.

August 2, 2004 The Eagan City Council UNANIMIOUSLY agreed
to DENY the proposed change in the city’s Comprehensive Guide Plan
saving the precious green space of Carriage Hills Golf Course from
becoming developed for now.

August 17, 2004 The Eagan City Council will meets again and
officially denies any change in the guide-plan.

In November, 2005 The Rahn Family Limited Partnership and
Wensmann Realty Inc took the decision of the City to District Court.

April 28, 2005 District Court Judge Patrice Sutherland overwhelmingly ruled in favor of the Rahn Family Limited Partnership and Wensmann Realty Inc. Stating that the City of Eagan must either, amend the property’s zoning to allow for the housing development or begin eminent domain proceedings to take the 40-year old public golf course within 30 days.

May 3, 2005 The Eagan City Council met in a closed-door (closed to the public) hearing to decide the fait of this precious parcel of land. Information from this meeting is not available to the general public.

May 27, 2005 The Eagan City Council decided to appeal Judge Sutherland’s decision and issued a statement stating, “We, as elected officials, have a legal responsibility to protect the integrity of the City’s Comprehensive Guide Plan. Otherwise there would be unrestrained and unplanned development. We think the guide plan is worth fighting for.”

November 14, 2005 After several months of closed-door (closed to the public) discussions the City of Eagan notified the Coalition that the Council planned to accept a settlement offer which allows Wensmann Realty to develop one of the last precious parcels of open space in the City of Eagan.

November 15, 2005 With only one day notice, the Coalition and the City’s open space supporters rallied enough interest to encourage the Mayor of Eagan, Pat Geagan to table the issue until November 29, 2005 to allow the public time to evaluate the proposal.

November 29 The City Council voted, without allowing the public time to review the settlement offer, unanimously to settle the dispute with Wensmann Realty allowing the developer to build the exact same number of units (480) on the property by approving a Special Area Plan (SAP).

December 27, 2005 Eagan Planning Commission heard the issue again. This time because of fear of loosing control over the planning of the development, the Commission voted 4-3 in favor of changing the Comprehensive Guide Plan and the area’s designation from Park to Special Area allowing development of the golf course.

January 17, 2006 Eagan City Council voted unanimously to deny the settlement plan that would have allowed Carriage Hills to be developed. Sending the case back to court.