BAXTER -- With Baxter yet to decide on the future of a Cypress Drive extension, the potential developers of Pine Meadow Golf Course have found themselves in a Catch-22.
The developer who has a purchase agreement on the property has a preliminary plat completed and submitted to the city of Baxter for turning the the golf course into mixed uses of residential, commercial and office space.
But until the city of Baxter decides if and where Cypress Drive might be extended across Highway 210 through the golf course the proposed development, Baxter Town Center, remains in limbo as far as its final design is concerned. The preliminary plat doesn't take into account an extended Cypress Drive.
At a joint meeting of the Baxter City Council and several city commissions Wednesday at Baxter City Hall, no decisions were made as to the future of Cypress Drive or on the preliminary plat on the golf course property.
However, city officials received several recommendations from Benshoof and Associates, Hopkins transportation engineering firm, on the Cypress Drive extension. Jim Benshoof said the ideal location would be extending Cypress Drive from Crow Wing County Road 48 to County Road 49 (Wise Road), bisecting the golf course property to better allow development there.
Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
Barricades are placed at the entrances to Pine Meadows Golf Course in Baxter.
Craig Fink, president of the Denali Real Estate Group, said his group was willing to give the land to the city for the Cypress Drive extension and pay for the roadway itself.
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Ron Matich said as it has elsewhere in the city, development will push the building of the Cypress Drive extension.
"You have an important piece in front of you," Matich said of the proposed development.
Deb Mitzel, representing Dondelinger Chevrolet, also expressed concerns with the lack of progress made on the Cypress Drive extension. If extended, Cypress Drive would cross Highway 210 near Super One grocery and the right-of-way would affect the Dondelinger property, which had plans to expand on the same site.
Benshoof said his firm also looked at the possibility of extending Crow Wing County Road 48 across Highway 210 in the area of the Westgate Mall, but it was determined that the Cypress Drive extension was preferred because it provided more benefits for the overall roadway system in Baxter. However, he said his recommendation wouldn't preclude a future extension of Crow Wing County Road 48.
In 2004 the Denali Real Estate Group entered into a $5 million purchase agreement to buy Pine Meadows Golf Course with the idea of creating smaller businesses and shops with some residential units -- a downtown-like area for Baxter.
The preliminary plat for the development will be considered June 14 by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Baxter City Council is scheduled to review the plat June 21.
However, the city council has yet to make a decision on Cypress Drive, and Benshoof noted that supplemental reports had yet to be finished and delivered to the council for review.
"We're looking for guidance on how the city plans to proceed with Cypress Drive," before coming to the city with a final decision on the plat, said Tim Ramerth of Westwood Professional Services Inc., the design firm working with the developers of the golf course property. "We have to make some decision, we have to move forward (on the Cypress Drive extension.)"
Council member Gary Muehlhausen said he had concerns with how much it would cost to build the Cypress Drive extension from Crow Wing County Roads 48 to 49. He also said until all of Benshoof's reports are delivered he wouldn't want to make a decision on Cypress Drive.
Public Works Director Trevor Walter said the project would not be built all at once but perhaps in segments over 10 to 20 years. He said there were several different funding sources that could be looked at, but before funding was decided the city council should first make a decision on the Cypress Drive extension concept.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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