Friday, August 20, 2010

Lakeshore development options

Options for Lakeshore Ownership

If you have 1,389 feet of lakeshore, how many lots can you get?

If the lakeshore is in the City of Victoria, Carver County?


If the lakeshore is in Laketown Township, Carver County?


When you invest in township land on the edge of development you typically
see the largest return on your investment by annexing the land in the City
and getting municipal water and sewer and higher density. This case proved
an exception.

The City of Victoria is an upper end suburb just past the U-M Arboretum on
Highway 5. Well regarded Chaska Schools as well as private schools. Victoria
has a new grocery story, Fresh Season Market. And regional bike trail access
to Carver Park Reserve with the bike trail connecting to downtown

From the City's website: "Victoria is A City of Lakes and Parks! Located on
the western edge of the Minneapolis-St Paul Metro Area, this city of 6,330
residents is home to nine lakes, as well as Smithtown Bay of Lake
Minnetonka. " When a developer wants to plat a lakefront subdivision the
City of Victoria requires the developer to dedicate ALL of the lakeshore to
the City for a trail. There are no lakefront lots and no private docks.

Fish Lake in Maple Grove illustrates 4 ways to deal with lakeshore:

1) Three Rivers Park owns 150 acres in Fish Lake Regional Park which
includes trails and a public beach and boat launch.

2) +/-75% of the lake is fee ownership by the homeowners. They can have
docks and there is no public access from their lots.

3) On part of the lake, adjacent to Three Rivers Park, The City of Maple
Grove owns the right of way for a trail. Homes back the trail, have lakeview
and no docks. While this lakefront trail provides a wonderful amenity for
the community, it significantly decreases property values because there is
no dock access. This trail was developed about 30 years ago.

4) Five lots were platted prior to the trail being built. So the City of
Maple Grove acquired an EASEMENT for the trail. These 5 homes have private
docks. As a frequent trail user, these 5 docks do not in anyway decrease the
utility or enjoyment of the trail around the lake. There are no beaches -
the natural wetland vegetation is the same as the rest of the trail

Impact on property values? Three years ago one of these five lots sold as a
tear down for $500,000. The home was in the Parade of Homes at $1,390,000 in
2008. The land would have sold for significantly less if there was no dock
access. And there is no way the home value would exceed $1,000,000 without
the dock. Just a couple homes down on the trail an older lakeview home sold
for $339,900 and was not torn down.

This accidental situation, with the trail easement and dock rights, I
believe is the best way for a city to achieve both public trail access to
the lake AND higher property values. As to boat traffic from the docks,
there is public access on the lake anyway at the Three Rivers Park.

Getting back to Victoria. The developer has about 70 acres on Lake Wasserman
in Laketown Township, in the orderly annexation area of Victoria. He had 2
building rights, one lakefront, one not. Keeping the lakeshore in Laketown
Township, Carver County permitted the developer to shift the building rights
to have around 40 acres with no lakefront and no building permit for future
annexation to Victoria. Then he created one 25 acre lot with 1,157' feet of
lakeshore and one 5 acre lot with 232 feet of lakeshore. The lots are on the
paved and well maintained yet low traffic County Road 43, as to opposed to
many acreage lots on poorly maintained township roads. A long paved private
drive was built by the developer insuring privacy as well as the lakeshore.

I have these lakefront beautiful lots listed for sale. Lakefront lots in
Victoria are rare. For more info email at or call Laurie at

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