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Continued: Doug Dayton's sanctuary is for sale -- but not to developers

  • Article by: JIM BUCHTA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 28, 2014 - 4:31 PM

Pat Hiller, a principal with Plymouth-based Source Land Capital, said that in nearby Plymouth, developable land is selling for more than $200,000 an acre, and Source Land recently spent millions on two golf courses that will become housing developments.

The 21-acre Red Oaks course in Minnetrista was recently replatted into nearly 60 lots and sold to a national housing developer, and Source Land is seeking municipal approval to redevelop the Lakeview Golf Course in nearby Orono into about 55 two-acre homesites.

“Demand exceeds supply,” Hiller said. “Every developer in town would love to have that 100-acre piece of [Dayton] property.”

Wendy Dayton’s efforts come in the wake of an obscure new law that eliminates an important incentive for easement donations.

With development marching across the Twin Cities, easement agreements have become a popular way of preserving open space, but a key catalyst for such deals was eliminated in late 2013 when a new law said the value of a property enrolled in a conservation easement cannot be reduced by county assessors. Minnesota is the only state in the nation to pass such a law, which was tucked into a broader tax package.

Larson said that he’s pursuing discussion with legislators about repealing the law and that it’s too soon to tell how much an impact the new guidelines will have on future easements. “We’re very concerned,” he said.Meanwhile, Dayton is undeterred in her commitment to the easement, and hopes to find a buyer who will see the development restriction as an asset.

Weeks before Doug Dayton died on July 5 last year, he hopped on his Kawasaki Mule one last time with his longtime property manager, Stephen Steinborn.

With bees buzzing through the prairie and quiet breezes sweeping through tall cottonwood trees where a pair of redtail hawks now nest, Dayton was thrilled to see the native lupines — one of his favorite plants — in full bloom.

“He was out here every chance he got,” Steinborn said. “He was glad to know it would be like this forever.”

 

Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376









 

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  • Doug Dayton created a serene refuge out of 100 acres just north of downtown Wayzata. Below: Lupines were among his favorite flowers.The house sits above a heart shaped reflecting pond] When Doug Dayton bought nearly 100 acres of woods and fields just a few minutes north of Wayzata, he vowed to create a refuge of waving grasslands, knotted walking trails and placid ponds. The place would become a refuge from the demands of running the family department store, and a place to raise his family. He restored nearly 40 acres of native prairie grasslands and forbs, and hand-planted hundreds...

  • This is the meadow that Doug Dayton restored ] When Doug Dayton bought nearly 100 acres of woods and fields just a few minutes north of Wayzata, he vowed to create a refuge of waving grasslands, knotted walking trails and placid ponds. The place would become a refuge from the demands of running the family department store, and a place to raise his family. He restored nearly 40 acres of native prairie grasslands and forbs, and hand-planted hundreds of plum trees, oaks and pines that now tower over the sprawling ranch home he built in the early 1960s...

  • This is the meadow that Doug Dayton restored wild flowers like this Lupine abound. ] When Doug Dayton bought nearly 100 acres of woods and fields just a few minutes north of Wayzata, he vowed to create a refuge of waving grasslands, knotted walking trails and placid ponds. The place would become a refuge from the demands of running the family department store, and a place to raise his family. He restored nearly 40 acres of native prairie grasslands and forbs, and hand-planted hundreds of plum trees, oaks and pines that now tower over the sprawling ranch home...

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