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Proposed changes may make former golf course into Sherwood Forest Village development

By: 
Tom Collins

The first portion of a “Tale of Two Golf Courses” in Sherwood centered on plans for High Cliff Golf Course. But at least a portion of the July 13 meeting of the Sherwood Village Board also touched on a vision for the former Sherwood Forest Golf Course.

A concept of what may lie ahead for the former Sherwood Forest Golf Course was presented to the village’s planning body recently and results were reported to the village board by Plan Commission chair Steve Summers.

Summers submitted a memo from Tony Genisot and an early concept by a firm called U.P. Builders to build homes on the scenic land that most recently was the golf course. The Genisot memo referred to the former course which was auctioned in 2019.

“…based on the physical state of the greens and cart paths, it was clearly visible that it was no longer feasible as a golf course,” Genisot wrote. “I have lived on Robinhood Way for over 20 years. I have a vested interest in Sherwood Forest and the village.”

Unlike the High Cliff zoning, which was changed during the July 13 meeting, the Sherwood Forest course included IR-2 zoning which more easily opens the way for residential sites on the land.

“Our intent is to develop the property with the least impact possible while still creating positive value,” Genisot wrote.

The vision for what is initially being called the Sherwood Family Village development calls for a mix of new homes, the possibility for adding some senior housing on the land, the possibility of current homeowners expanding their home lots and also continued use of the former golf course clubhouse as a winery or brewery outlet facility.

More discussion will likely be forthcoming as the early concept evolves in the future.

The Sherwood Forest Golf Course demise dovetailed with the discussion of the High Cliff Golf Course zoning changes and senior residence proposal.

The ownership and development team submitted a two page memo in the meeting packet listing former golf courses in the Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota that have gone out of business in recent years. And some other supporters of the High Cliff project alluded to the Sherwood Forest course fate in their three-minute presentations to the village board. For some it was a cautionary example.

Each golf course has been a center for village life for at least a generation. And each has been a unique part of the unique mix of business and recreation in the community during that time.

Sherwood residents and both elected and administrative officials will watch with great interest as what seems to be divergent paths and new chapters for these village businesses unfold in new chapters.

The board had plenty of material to consider during the July 13 meeting with a massive 208 pages of information before it plus some last minutes submissions from those involved for and against the current High Cliff residential project.

Among those items were considering some zoning changes for properties near the Sherwood Elevator, listening to an appeal of a young woman whose bartender license was in question and trying to move the hiring of a new clerk-treasurer forward.

Relief seems on the way for those who dislike carrying around a large paper packet. That’s because iPads are coming, perhaps to the rescue of some and the first day of school for others.

The village board will make the transition initially, followed later by other committees and boards. One of the first hurdles will be arranging training in a COVID-19 world that discourages group gatherings such as full training sessions for all board members.

iPad subcommittee chair Roger Kaas called the village board the “guinea pigs” for the device training. Whether it is one on one sessions or other small groups, the classes will begin soon.

In other work on the busy night’s agenda, the village board reviewed results from the recent joint review board regarding closeout of long-term TIDs #1 and #2. Each of those became a donor to a healthy TID #3 which deals with downtown development and now has more than $800,000 in funds.

A water line break along Pigeon Road meant at least an 80,000 gallon loss for the village according to a report to the village board.

The village board set the annual open book session for Thursday, Aug. 20 and the annual board of review session for Thursday, Sept.17.

The July 13 village board session was adjourned at 10:09 p.m.