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Proposed RV park won’t be subject to an EIS

The process that will eventually end with acceptance or rejection of a proposed campground near the southeast side of Otter Tail Lake will not include an Environmental Impact Statement, as determined by the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners.

The board decided at a meeting last week that enough information was previously provided through a mandatory Environmental Assessment Worksheet.

The proposed campground, called Homestead at Otter Tail RV Park and Resort, would be located near the city of Ottertail, in Otter Tail Township. Plans call for 185 recreational camping units. Developers are Greg and Beth Swanberg.

Barring an appeal of the EIS decision, the County Planning Commission is likely to address the proposal further in late May or early June. Following their recommendation, the county board would then make a final decision.

At a public hearing on April 9, with several lake property owners in attendance, the board heard a list of public comments related to the Environmental Assessment Worksheet.

Those opposed to the project raised several concerns, including traffic congestion, excess noise, the negative impact of septic systems for a large group of people, congestion at the nearby public access and public picnic areas, and other issues.

A written comment concerning the campground came from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which noted that pedestrian traffic in that area would need to proceed with caution. In its present condition, Highway 78 between the proposed project and wayside rest has narrow road shoulders.

Surface water runoff from the campground is not believed to be an issue, since the proposed campground would be located on the southeast side of Highway 78, not directly adjacent to Otter Tail Lake. Water runoff prevention measures can be taken to prevent water from going into a 30-inch culvert under the highway.

The conditional use permit process for the campground got underway in 2011.

Tom Hintgen, Otter Tail County Correspondent