EAST GULL LAKE -- Cragun's Resort is attempting to construct another nine-hole golf course at its 27-hole Legacy at Cragun's course in East Gull Lake. The move would allow the resort to operate two championship regulation 18-hole courses.
Environmental concerns raised by the DNR, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and the city of East Gull Lake have stalled the project.
Cragun's Resort has purchased the entire property surrounding Stephens Lake, which borders the current Legacy course. About half the land was purchased by way of a property exchange with the state. The resort traded with the state twice the amount of lakeshore on land located near the Deep Portage Reserve in Hackensack. The resort purchased the other half of Stephens Lake by buying out private property owners, said Merrill "Dutch" Cragun, owner of Cragun's Resort.
At Monday's East Gull Lake Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Cragun's representatives were anticipated to ask for three items from the city, a conditional use permit for a nine-hole golf course in a recreation zone, the rezoning of land at the proposed course from residential to recreation and a variance for vegetation removal within the shoreland impact zone on a natural environmental lake.
Cragun's is proposing eliminating 63-71 percent of the vegetation surrounding Stephens Lake, where the standard for a lake classified as a natural environment lake is zero impact to vegetation, according to Attorney Janette Brimmer with the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. The current 27-hole golf course is 110 acres while the proposed nine-hole course includes 68 acres.
Two fairways of the proposed course also enclose and cut off two homes from a nearby neighborhood.
Cragun spoke before about 30 people who attended the East Gull Lake Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Monday. He said hours before the meeting he and city staff reached an agreement that would require Cragun's Resort to complete an Environmental Assessment Worksheet on the proposed nine-hole course. An EAW was completed on the Legacy's existing course.
The resort's requests for a conditional use permit, the rezoning of the land and a variance for vegetation removal was then withdrawn Monday night until after the EAW was prepared by the city and submitted to the Environmental Quality Board.
Karen Groshong, city administrator, said the city and Cragun agreed Monday to develop a committee that would oversee construction of the nine-hole course to make sure environmental concerns are addressed.
In his statement, Cragun explained the Legacy at Cragun's strives to be used as an environmental showpiece, building a beautiful course that combines the highest degree of "golf art" with environmental respect.
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