Lincoln County management is taking a hands-off approach when considering whether Spring Creek Golf Course should be turned into portions of a campground.
That’s because county commissioners say they don’t have the power to sway the debate one way or another because the land is state land.
Commissioners rejected a resolution Tuesday seeking a moratorium on plans by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks to convert the Spring Creek golf course into a campground.
The resolution reflects the frustrations of a group of Spring Creek homeowners who don’t want to see “a combination of RVs, RVs, tents, cabins, or picnic tables” on their doorstep. entrance, according to report by the Spring Creek Committee, which represents 79 residences and more than 150 residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the golf course.
Residents Barb Koopman and Phil Keithahn, representing this committee, first appeared before the commission in Januaryurging them to save the golf course and address the concerns of the residents of this neighborhood.
The five-member Lincoln County panel was asked at Tuesday’s Commission meeting to “drop plans” to develop the Spring Creek Country Club campground in Canton, including activities beyond the campground. day use and excluding campgrounds and camping. The resolution also called for a postponement of the land transfer until GFP and the community of Spring Creek come to an approved plan.
“This is a powerful statement the Commission can make by showing leadership in our state leveling of gaming, fishing and parks,” said Commissioner Joel Arends, sponsor of the resolution.
Arends says it would also show Lincoln County public officials are listening to the community.
Lincoln County officials are split on whether the resolution carries any real weight
While Arends and Commissioner James Jibben took the position of the owners of Spring Creek to pass the resolution, his counterparts like Commissioner Michael Poppens, while sympathetic to the owners, pointed to jurisdictional issues and concerns over lack of resolution weight.
“The resolution doesn’t bind us to anything,” Poppens said. “He uses words like ‘request,’ so I’m in no way opposed to telling the state that we would like landowners [and their concerns] in this field to be recognized, that’s what it says.”
Poppens said he thinks this resolution should be sent to the Planning and Zoning Commission to give their opinion on the substance of it.
“GFP will acquire the golf course from the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation in January 2025, and we want to effectively use the property for recreational purposes. We want as many interested park users and stakeholders as possible to share their thoughts and ideas,” Deputy Parks Director Al Nedved said in a statement. December press release.
According to that press release, Nedved said GFP would continue to meet with stakeholders to “share development concepts and seek input from these stakeholders on how best to manage and develop the property for public recreational use.”
The GFP also extended online feedback and comment periods for residents who were unable to attend those December meetings, which recently closed.
They also declined Arends’ invitation to make a presentation to the Commission.
“I understand the reasons why, it’s because they want input and feedback, instead of being the main driver of the discussion,” he said.
GFP sees itself more as a “gatherer of information” than a “disseminator” in this process, Arends said. The state ultimately has jurisdiction over the Spring Creek lands, Arends said, and the county has no planning and zoning authority over state property under South Dakota law.
“There is no pending action, since we are elected and accountable to the people, as opposed to planning and zoning, which are just individually appointed people,” Arends explained. “It just made more sense to come here to the Commission.”
Commission Chair Tiffany Landeen did not support the resolution because of the language and the prematureness of the Spring Creek Golf Course development plans.
“I’m a little concerned about some verbiage as the GFP abandons plans to include activities that extend beyond daytime use on the golf course,” Landeen said.
She says the golf course is currently used at night for weddings, birthdays, fundraisers and other events beyond daytime use, and considers the resolution contradicts what current use dictates. .
Resolution to ‘Drop’ Spring Creek Campground Plans Fails 3-2
Arends encouraged a discussion among his elected colleagues to change the language.
But Landeen replied that it is “bad leadership” to vote on something that is still in development, with information not available.
Poppens added that since GFP officials refused to appear before the commission, he suggested contacting them individually to understand their concept plans.
The final vote failed 3-2, with Landeen, Poppens and Schmidt against.
“It’s something that I didn’t like to happen, because now we’re on the record not to support something that everybody’s probably pretty much in favor of,” Schmidt said after the failure of the motion.
He encouraged Spring Creek residents concerned about PFM plans to contact the department directly, ask to sit down with PFM officials, and engage in more direct negotiations.