UPDATED, Jan. 13, 2022, 10 am: Updated to state that county Planning Commission vote amounted to county approval of the golf course and that developer must negotiate with commissioners to extend paving.
Members of the Lincoln County Planning Commission Tuesday endorsed a Lincoln firm’s interest in building what it calls a “world-class” 18-hole private golf course about 11 miles north of Maxwell.
After a public hearing, the 11-member panel unanimously voted to grant a conditional use permit allowing the course to be built off North Maxwell Road.
The plan would make that course the seventh in a group of private joint-membership courses nationwide.
The Planning Commission’s positive vote clears the way for Kahikina LLC’s plan from the county's perspective, said Judy Clark, planning administrator for both the city of North Platte and Lincoln County.
County Board members will not vote on the conditional use permit, she said, because the county’s planning panel — unlike its North Platte city counterpart — has the last word on whether to grant conditional use permits.
The Planning Commission's vote requires Kahikina to negotiate with commissioners to extend paving on North Maxwell Road to the expected golf course entrance, Clark said.
Documents filed with the firm’s permit application say Kahikina would buy three full sections and parts of two other sections from Olson Farms Inc. of Hershey.
The five parcels total 2,480 acres and had a combined 2021 taxable value of $1,353,618, according to Lincoln County GIS records.
Turning them into a “world class private golf destination” would bring “a promising economic boost to the community,” Kahikina said in its application.
The course would include a 10,000- to 12,000-square-foot clubhouse and restaurant, a maintenance facility and 60 beds of “overnight lodging” for golfers who want to stay there, it said.
Though it would host golfers only from April to October, “agronomic personnel” and other key staff would work there year-round “to ensure the course is well maintained even during the off-season.”
Kahikina estimated 60 golfers would play the planned Maxwell-area course each day during the season, with a maximum capacity of 120.
The course would serve 5,000 customers a year when it opens, it said, rising to 7,200 annually. Kahikina has a goal of housing at least 6,000 customers annually in its planned lodging.
County Highway Superintendent Carla O’Dell said in a Dec. 22 letter that she had been contacted by Lincoln-based Dormie Network about the golf course project.
Dormie operates the private 18-hole ArborLinks course in Nebraska City as well as courses in Indiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia, according to its website.
Professional golf legend Arnold Palmer, who died in 2016, designed ArborLinks. The New Jersey and North Carolina courses were co-designed by two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, who also designed Sand Hills Golf Course near Mullen.
Golfers who buy a membership in Dormie Network gain access to all golf courses in that network, Dormie’s website says.
Kahikina LLC filed organizational papers Nov. 10, according to corporate records obtained online through Secretary of State Bob Evnen’s office.
Dormie Network LLC was organized in February 2018, and the nonprofit Dormie Network Foundation followed suit in July 2020, according to Evnen’s office.
O’Dell’s letter said the pavement on North Maxwell Road, which turns east and then northeast to go through the proposed golf course site, ends one-half mile before the suggested entrance at the northeast turn.
The unpaved portion is graveled and maintained weekly, but it’s “mostly a sand base and when hot and dry tends to blow out with heavy traffic,” O’Dell wrote.
Even organizers’ estimated traffic of 15 to 20 vehicles per day “can still make a significant impact on that type of road,” she added.
Board members of the North Platte Area Chamber & Development Corp. endorsed the project at a meeting Tuesday, President and CEO Gary Person said.
Person linked the Maxwell project to the Dormie Network in a supporting letter to county Planning Commission members.
“Dormie has an outstanding reputation for doing developments the right way,” he wrote. “This (project) will allow us to show off the beauty and serenity of our rolling geographic characteristics and expose our community’s strengths to embrace development opportunities to new visitors from different parts of the United States.”
Person added that “most destination golf courses located in the Sandhills” already use the North Platte Regional Airport at Lee Bird Field to bring in players.
Dormie’s Maxwell-area project is “a natural fit to expand” such regional offerings, he said. “It also makes sense to have one closer to North Platte.”
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