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Woodlands Country Club Residents Learn Fate about Golf Course

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Photo Illustration by Adam Baron

By: Adam Baron

For the one hundred plus residents that were in attendance at the November 13th homeowner’s association meeting, the bad news fell like a ball in a sand trap: their beloved golf course would cease to be. In its place would be over 500 new homes to be built by 13th Floor Homes, a private south Florida developer which boasts of being “One of South Florida’s most experienced companies in golf course redevelopment.” Residents sat in shock as they learned that their beautiful golf course views would eventually disappear, some to be replaced with the prospect of staring into someone else’s backyard.

Originally created by Tamarac founder and developer Ken Behring in 1968, The Woodlands Country Club is a golf course community consisting of some 900 homes, some estate sized, most much more modest, but all featuring a unique architecture more fitting in Palm Springs than South Florida with its ever-pervasive Mediterranean facades. The 36-hole course was designed by world famous golf course architect Robert Von Hagge and PGA Tour player Bruce Devlin. The greens are lined with lush patches of trees and brush, and numerous lakes and canals that give the course its beauty. The thirty-six  individual links snake their way throughout the whole community, affording most homeowners a beautiful golf course view to take in while they enjoy their morning coffee.

While originally member-owned, the course was sold to Canadian corporation ClubLink when it fell upon hard times in 2011. However, like other underperforming courses across the country, ClubLink’s inability to turn the course profitable has forced it to put it on the market. Currently, 13th Floor has an option to buy the course which is contingent upon the Tamarac city commission giving their approval for the plans.

Under the guise of an HOA meeting held by the Woodlands Homeowners Association, it was clear that the night’s whole agenda was to provide a stage for a presentation by 13th Floor Homes. According to association president Mike Jeknovorian, no residents in attendance were allowed to ask any questions, only board members, and insisted that pursuant to Florida Statute 617, there would be no recording of the meeting allowed.  However, he never responded to a homeowner who asked where in the statutes this was stated.

The presentation made by Michael Nunziata, on behalf of the developer, was a well-polished powerpoint presentation which outlined their plans for building an additional 540 homes and overall improvements to the community as a whole. Among such improvements promised were the building a of new clubhouse for the community with a fitness center, the addition of 125 acres of green-space with walking, running and biking trails repurposed from golf cart paths, new lakes, and gated entrances with cameras and license plate readers.

What isn’t clear is how the new homes will mesh with the existing homes from an architectural standpoint. Resident Carolyn Chin remarked about her initial reasons for buying in the Woodlands:

“I bought in The Woodlands because of the size, quality, distinctiveness houses and beautiful green open space. Now it would appear my view will be blocked by a house.” She is also concerned about changing the entire nature, ambiance, appeal of Woodlands to a high density, highly trafficked community with cookie cutter houses on small lots.

If developer 13th Floor Homes’ other communities like Central Parc and Manor Parc (also located in Tamarac) serve as a template, residents can expect boxy, nondescript, two-story homes and townhouses set on zero-lot-line lots that could be as narrow as 30 feet wide in some areas. These will be in stark contrast to the existing homes that suggest more of a mid-century modern vibe and have unique features like atriums and breeze-block walls. Long-time resident Alvin Entin is skeptical:

“You destroy the essential character of this community by bringing in these boxes made of ticky-tacky.”

Adding to residents’ woes is what’s bound to be a long and disruptive construction process. 13th Floor Homes’ plan to add retention ponds in place of some of the greens means that huge quantities of soil that will have to be excavated and removed. Construction vehicles and the transportation of building materials would presumably be utilizing Woodlands Blvd, the main thoroughfare of the community.

Whether the residents of The Woodlands have any better options before them remain to be seen. It is unknown whether ClubLink has any other suitors. Many would argue that this proposed plan by 13th Floor is preferable to having an overgrown jungle stemming from an abandoned golf course. Whether the plan ultimately gets approved will be up to Tamarac’s city commission. Ultimately, it will be up to the residents to make sure their voices get heard.

(Proposed site plan below)

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3 Responses to Woodlands Country Club Residents Learn Fate about Golf Course

  1. Eduardo Cheng Chu Reply

    November 18, 2017 at 6:06 am

    What can be done to stop it?

  2. Mikey Reply

    November 18, 2017 at 10:42 am

    You know and I know , that this will not be stopped
    This is protocol, jumping through the hoops so to speak
    Which developers have to do
    To plead there case on file, then the city will approve it anyway
    All we can do is hope for the best
    Maybe designated road for construction crews to work where it will not bother the free flow traffic that exists today
    Also if they will assume all the new guard gate fees under the new homes hoa, we did not ask for it , we do not need it ,
    So if the new fees should be on the new homes hoa, in its ntirety, they will be moving into our community, they should pay for all the new fees incurred with this new development
    And possibly a new dog run put somewhere for all to use
    Since this is now a community of pets and mostly dogs to meet and socialize

  3. Phillip Gamble Reply

    November 20, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    I know that none of use are thrilled about the sale of the golf course. However, I am of the opinion that since this is inevitable, if we work with the developer as he suggested, we can try to ensure we get the best deal. As he pointed out, it they don’t get approval, the other option is to have the current owners shut down the coarses and let the weeds grow. Then we will be forced to accept anything that comes along.

    Based on their proposal, I initially was skeptical, however the more I thought of it, it makes sense. First off, we all know that our property values lag behind the rest of Broward County. Turning the Woodlands into a gated community will help that. Also keep in mind that its in the developers best interest to make the woodlands a nice up market community. It helps their sales. As they currently propose, “none of the new houses will abut existing homes and the equivalent of one 18 hole course will be left as green space.

    If we can work with them and get them to stick to their proposed plans, I think this will actually be a great benefit for the existing residents of the woodlands. My only concern, it that if there is to much negativity and fighting, it will have a real negative impact on our property values in the interim. I hope we can all work together to protect the property values in our Woodlands. Let’s embrace change with make is work for us. Let’s work with the developers and hold them to their promises.

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