Curry County Commissioners took a five-minute break from budget discussions Wednesday and approved the tentative master plan for Crook Point Golf Course, a project that has been hung up for years in planning negotiations and land use appeals.

The Crook family of Pistol River and Brookings developer Leroy Blodgett introduced their idea of a $44 million destination golf resort in May 2009.

Blodgett, of Eagle Two Development Co., is the consultant to the Crook Family LLC, which hopes to develop the resort on 200 of the 2,800 acres of land the family owns in the Pistol River area. The resort would be adjacent to Crook Point south of Pistol River, halfway between Brookings and Gold Beach.

The resort will feature a 9- and 18-hole golf course, a golf shop, golf lodge, spa lodge and interpretive center. It plans 175 overnight lodging units, owner and employee housing and an equestrian center.

"We're relieved we're through this process," Blodgett said. "However, we're not celebrating. We're not even sure we're done with this process yet."

The original schedule was to obtain county approval in May 2010, with construction beginning in June 2011 and opening a year later.

Appeals - starting at the county planning level and rising to the state Land Use Board of Appeals - have delayed ground-breaking.

Some appeals are associated with wetlands protection and the proximity of course holes to nearby Sand Lake Estuary.

The groups filing those appeals include Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition and the Oregon Coast Alliance. They have 21 days from the county's approval March 27 to file more appeals. Another appeal, involving water rights, is tied up in the state Water Resources Department.

"They'll probably appeal our corrections in the remand issues (addressed last month)," Blodgett said. "I don't think anything will be satisfactory to them. They'll continue to appeal until they run out of appeal rights."

Blodgett said it will probably be one to two years before the family can break ground - but if no further appeals are filed, it could start next year.

"That's pretty optimistic," he said. "They're just trying to frustrate - or financially break - the owners. That's usually the goal."