The Medina Golf and Country Club and Rachel Contracting LLC are exploring ideas for a single-family home project intended to ensure financial survival of the country club for well into the future.
For the Villas at Medina Country Club to become reality, project planners must get a series of approvals from the Medina City Council. The council gave feedback on a concept plan at its April 15 meeting, and, in the process, suggested many changes related to preserving a sensitive environment and dealing with increasingly heavy traffic on nearby County Road 116.
Project planners left the meeting with a lot to think about and indications that getting the necessary approvals would take some work and negotiations. Or approvals might not happen.
The concept plan for the Villas at Medina Country Club shows 54 detached townhomes located on the western and northern edges of the 18-hole championship golf course. Thirty-five of the townhomes would stretch along the eastern side of County Road 116, with access via a new road constructed across from Meander Road. The other 19 would sit just south of Shawnee Woods Road and use that street for access. The development would sit on 37 acres, including out-lots. The entire golf course site totals 159 acres.
Planning Consultant Nate Sparks said that this is the second time that a residential development has been proposed for the northern and western edges of the golf course. The first proposal several years ago showed slab on grade homes because project planners thought the water table was too high for homes to have basements. This new proposal shows homes with basements and possibly sump pumps in a planned unit development.
After the City Council saw the first proposal, the economy and real estate experienced a recession. The Elm Creek Golf Course in Plymouth closed and is giving way to residential development. The Wayzata School District has plans to use land in the area to deal with growing enrollment.
Now that market values have begun to recover, the Medina Golf Country Club again is looking at development along its fringe to help it pay off its mortgage, according to a Country Club representative.
Rick Denman represented home builder Charles Cudd. He said his company “is excited about the opportunity” to build high-quality homes around the golf course. The detached villas would be priced in the $725,000 to $850,000 range. He expected them to appeal to the empty-nester luxury buyer.
The proposed golf course villas would be located adjacent to two new large housing developments. The Reserve of Medina sits north of Shawnee Woods Road, and Foxberry Farms is located across County Road 116. Several single-family homes already are situated at the eastern end of Shawnee Woods Road.
Two Shawnee Woods Road residents, Steve Theesfeld and Eric Voltin, said they had concerns about the homes proposed for the south side of their street.
Theesfeld said the project planners should consider moving homes from the northeast corner of the golf course site to the southeast corner. The northeast corner could be used as open space and a park. He also challenged the idea of zoning the development as a planned unit development and said a PUD should be used to preserve natural features of the site. He thought the concept plan would not preserve natural features in the northeast corner.
Mayor Elizabeth Weir commented on wet conditions in the northeast corner and how the area is home to nesting wood ducks. Reed canary grass grows in the area, and this is an indication of wet soil. She also said about removal of trees, “I don’t like clear cutting.”
Weir asked the builder to avoid impacting wetlands.
She also said traffic on County Road 116 is becoming “nightmarish.”
City Councilor Kathleen Martin listened to Weir’s comments and said, “That’s quite a list.” Martin agreed with most of Weir’s feedback and expressed regret that “gorgeous” homes were proposed for a sensitive ecological environment.
City Councilor John Anderson commented: “We bemoan traffic on 116 and how we can do very little about it. This is a chance for us to do something about it. When are we going to stop doing this?”
Chuck Alcon, who represented the developer, said, “This is a difficult site.”
He introduced project engineer Martin Campion, who said that wetlands would not be impacted.
Campion said the traffic issue is at the intersection of Highway 55 and County Road 116, not at Meander Road and 116. “Traffic will find its way out of this development” via routes such as Hackamore Road, he said.
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