Friends of Patrick Eagan Park

Letters to the Editor

Eagan This Week
Saturday, January 12, 2002

McCarthy Should Have Final Say on His Land

To the editor:

Eagan Mayor Pat Awada has publicly discouraged individual residents from voicing their opinion about using Patrick Eagan Park for a golf course directly to her or to other members of City Council.

I find this disturbing along with what now seems to be an informal poll she is taking of citizens who manage to express their opposition to developing Patrick Eagan Park (public land) as to how they would like to see the property of a private citizen (Patrick McCarthy) developed. In recent weeks she has asked both my wife and me this question, and I have heard her ask the same question to several other citizens.

Since I do not own Mr. McCarthy's land I do not think it's appropriate for me to speculate on its usage. He should be allowed the same oportunity to develop his land in a fashion consistent with the comprehensive guide and zoning restrictions that every previous Eagan landowner with similar land has had.

Instead, there seems to be sentiment building to use the heavy hand of government to turn it into a golf course, or to change the zoning so that housing would not be allowed. There even seems to be a sort of land-use blackmail argument being framed: You will see homes built on Patrick McCarthy's land if you do not give up your opposition to making Patrick Eagan Park part of a golf course.

We have no more right to determine the usage of Mr. McCarthy's land than Mr. McCarthy has to tell Awada how to arrange her living room furniture. Mayor Awada owns her furniture and should be allowed to arrange it as she pleases, as long as it does not in some way violate city ordinances. Mr. McCarthy might arrange her furniture differently if given the opportunity, but alas, he does not own it or the house it is in, so his decorating ideas are irrelevant.

The land in question has been in the McCarthy family for over 150 years, and he certainly could have developed the property or sold it to developers to do so. He should not be penalized for being the last holder of a significant parcel of undeveloped land in Eagan.

Out of fairness, the city should not diminish the value of his property by changing its zoning or comprehensive guide classifications. We recently saw the results of such an action by the City Council on property on Diffley and Johnny Cake Ridge Roads. After a lengthy, and I assume costly, litigation process, the city was told that it could not devalue the property in this way and was forced to change the zoning back to its previous state. Hopefully they learned a lesson.

The City Council and the Golf Course Exploratory Committee should respect Mr. McCarthy's personal property rights. He should be allowed to do as he pleases wit his private property. If he does not wish to sell it (as he expressed during the golf course exploratory process) he should simply be left alone.

Brent Florine

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