Permitting comes next as Tepetonka Club announces acquisition of land for golf course in Kandiyohi County

·3 min read


— A leisurely ride in northern

Kandiyohi County

in May of 2021 led Mark Haugejorde to discover the land he hopes to see developed as a destination golf course.

Two years later and almost to the day,

Tepetonka Club

has announced it has acquired the rural New London property and is ready to move forward with the project.

In a recent news release, Tepetonka Club announced it has acquired a total of 228 acres for the planned development along Shakopee Creek near Sibley State Park.

"We first discovered this property two years ago, and our design and engineering teams have done amazing work together," said Haugejorde, Tepetonka Club chairman and New London-Spicer High School alumni, in the release. "We're thrilled to be moving forward in creating this great course and facilities."

Haugejorde's father, Harold, had been instrumental decades ago in the development of the Little Crow Golf Course.

Tepetonka Club had originally hoped to begin development on the course in September 2022, but the project was delayed due to litigation.

Tepetonka Club had obtained a purchase agreement approved by two of the three siblings owning the Cedar Hills Century Farm, which represents 187 acres of the land eyed for the development. The lawsuit brought one year ago by Dean Thorson against his siblings Don Thorson and Sherry Ulman resulted in a court ruling this March allowing the sale to go forward.

Tepetonka Club will now be able to begin the process of obtaining needed permits from Kandiyohi County to make the project possible. The permitting process will likely require a number of months, according to Eric Van Dyken, Kandiyohi County zoning administrator.

The golf course's representatives began meeting with Van Dyken and other county officials about the permitting process shortly after identifying the site for the course. But the permitting process itself could not get underway until the company had title to the property and it could be treated as a potential project, Van Dyken explained.

The area has two zoning designations. Much of the land is part of an A2 general agricultural district. Golf courses are allowed in the zone, but require a conditional use permit. The property within 300 feet of Shakopee Creek is part of a resource management district. This district also requires a conditional use permit for a golf course to be developed.

There will be opportunities for public comment on any conditional-use permits. The applications will be considered by the county's Planning Commission, which makes recommendations to the County Board of Commissioners on whether or not to approve them.

Van Dyken said the first step for Tepetonka Club will be to complete an environmental review, known as an environmental assessment worksheet, for the project. It will identify if there are any potential, significant environmental effects associated with the planned development.

That information will inform the permitting process, Van Dyken said. A golf course is not the sort of development that typically has visual or noise impacts on neighboring properties. How it conducts itself on the land and environment are the main issues to be addressed in permitting, he said.

An environmental assessment worksheet for the project would be presented to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. Board members will decide whether to issue a negative declaration, meaning they do not believe there are any significant environmental effects. Or, they can determine there are potential effects and ask that a more thorough, and costly, environmental impact statement be undertaken.