A spate of proposals to convert courses in an area “that once prided itself on its proliferation of golf holes” into new residential and commercial developments prompted the Naples Daily News to publish commentary about “an emerging issue here that a decade ago would have been unthinkable.”
A spate of proposals to convert golf course properties in the Naples, Fla. area into new residential and commercial developments prompted the Naples Daily News to editorialize that “it’s remarkable to see an area that once prided itself on its proliferation of golf holes now viewing that land as a commodity.”
The Daily News began its editorial by reporting that “a one-liner at [a recent] marathon Bonita Springs [Fla.] City Council meeting elicited nervous laughter among those gathered in the room and overflowing into the lobby.
“Golf courses are just holding places for more development, a speaker told the council,” the Daily News reported.
“In the immediate case, it rang true,” the Daily News’ editorial continued. “But it’s an issue that will continue to emerge across Southwest Florida, as the popularity of recreational golf declines and pressures mount to find available land on which to build.
“Historically, it’s remarkable to see an area that once prided itself on its proliferation of golf holes now viewing that land as a commodity,” the Daily News commented.
“From the perspective of WCI Communities, it’s understandable that it wants maximum value from its land,” the editorial said. “The company sought city permission to build four high-rises at Raptor Bay [Golf Club], operating on an annexation agreement it struck with the council and density allowed within an overall planned development.
“Neighbors and opponents feared the additional traffic it would generate, its location near the fragile coast and evacuation times if there’s an emergency,” the Daily News continued. “The council voted 4-1 not to change the city’s comprehensive land-use plan, but sent the question back to its staff and a city board whether a project can proceed alternately under Lee County development regulations.
“This debate in Bonita Springs comes on the heels of one last year in northern Collier [County] with a proposed housing development where land was to be held ‘in perpetuity’ as green space or a golf course,” the Daily News noted.
“Both underscore an emerging issue worthy of attention for anyone who lives near a golf course,” the Daily News said in its editorial. “How secure is that long-held comfort that the golf course will always remain that way?
“In Collier [County], there’s an application to turn Golden Gate Country Club, a fixture for 50 or so years, into a residential community. There’s another proposal in East Naples for a golf course-to-housing transformation,” the Daily News reported.
“Is a golf course best used for housing? Recreational trails? Water recharge? Golf?” the Daily News asked.
“Each golf course layout is different. Likewise, the answer will differ in each case. It’s an emerging issue here that a decade ago would have been unthinkable,” the Daily News concluded.