A subcommittee unanimously approved proposed changes that include prohibiting barbed-wire or razor fencing, limiting all temporary fencing to one year, and protecting 50-foot setback zones. After public vetting, a final vote is expected in May.
Taking aim at blighted golf courses around the city, including the shuttered Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course, a subcommittee of the Phoenix, Ariz. City Council has moved forward with proposed changes to the city’s zoning ordinance that are designed to establish higher standards for how courses must be marked and maintained, even when they are not operating, the Ahwatukee Foothills News reported.
The city council’s Housing and Development Subcommittee unanimously approved a motion to accept new requirements for open-space protections on golf courses “that should come as welcome relief to many Phoenix residents,” the Foothills News reported.
As reported by C&RB in January (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2014/01/23/controversial-ahwatukee-lakes-gc-fence-removed/), Ahwatukee Lakes GC has been a source of controversy since its owner, Wilson Gee of Ahwatukee Golf Properties, closed the course in May 2013 and began looking to sell the property. Gee put up temporary barbed-wire fencing around the perimeter of the course in October and then Pulte Homes, which is looking to purchase the land to build single-family homes, agreed to cover the costs to move the fences away from the perimeter and closer to the clubhouse and water hazards on the course.
The proposed ordinance changes passed by the City Council subcommittee would institute these permanent requirements, the Foothills News reported.
• Prohibit barbed-wire, razor wire or equivalent fencing.
• Identify a one-year time limit for all temporary fencing and establish a use-permit requirement for temporary fencing of a golf course when adjacent to residential areas.
• Require that temporary fencing be set back a minimum of 50 feet from the perimeter of a golf course, when adjacent to residential property.
• Mandate that landscaping within the 50-foot setback be maintained.
A public vetting of the proposed language of the changes will now occur, the Foothills News reported, and the item is expected to return to the subcommittee in May for a final vote by the City Council.
“I’m incredibly excited about these proposed changes,” said City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, a subcommittee member and also a resident of Phoenix’s Ahwatukee neighborhood, told the Foothills News. “Frankly, some developers have used ‘blight’ to their advantage, in terms of gaining concessions from neighbors when redeveloping golf courses. These recommended changes put everything back on a level playing field and help to protect our neighborhoods and property values. This will serve as a model for what other communities can do to deal with this issue.”
DiCiccio, in fact, would like to see requirements that fences be moved back even farther, he told the Foothills News.
“Another thing I want to see is that a golf course claiming insolvency is not a good enough reason to put up a fence,” DiCiccio said. “We’ll see if that gets into the final version.”
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