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Plans continuing on proposed campground near Ottertail

This map shows the location of a proposed campground near the southeast side of Otter Tail Lake, close to Ottertail. Tom Hintgen/FOCUS

Some environmental hurdles remain before the green light is given for establishment of a campground near the southeast side of Otter Tail Lake, but progress is being made.

If approved, the campground will be located near the junction of Highways 5 and 78.

Since there is no direct lake access, the proposal is called Homestead at Otter Tail. The plan was formerly referred to as Homestead on Otter Tail.

Plans call for 185 recreational camping units. Developers are Greg and Beth Swanberg.

The conditional use permit process got underway in September 2011. A proposal was submitted to the planning commission prior to being submitted to the county board of commissioners.

"A proposal of this size automatically triggers a mandatory Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW)," Land and Resource Administrator Bill Kalar told country board members at a Jan. 22 meeting.

The final EAW draft and exhibits are now ready for print and distribution. The data will go to the State Environmental Quality Board, which will publish a notice of the completed EAW.

After that, there will be a 30-day public comment period.

Various agencies are notified, including state, federal and township levels of government.

If decision makers feel they do not have enough information, the EAW can be beefed up or the county board could require that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared.

However, "we wouldn't want to start the EIS just to delay the project," added commissioner John Lindquist.

"When the information process is complete, we need to get going with the project," said commissioner Lee Rogness.

Commissioners Roger Froemming and Wayne Johnson said the campground plans look good and look fair to all concerned, but they agreed with other commissioners that citizen input and environmental review are necessary prior to a final decision by the board.