By: Anne Geggis

Just an hour and a half before the sun came up Thursday – after a marathon 10-hour, nine-minute meeting– a proposal to redevelop two 18-hole golf courses sank to where developers aimed: a 3-2 city commission approval.

Thursday morning’s approval means that a plan for 423 homes to sprout on the greens of the Woodlands will go to the Broward County Commission for its approval. It also must pass scrutiny at the state level and then return to the city commission for final approval.

It was a setback for critics of the plan who also filed suit Monday afternoon to stop the process.

“They have decided not to follow the rules of their comprehensive plan,” said Jose Spena, a Woodlands resident who is a party in the suit.

For the developer, 13tth Floor Homes, changing the use of the greens from recreational to residential will be a long-anticipated upgrade for the 50-year-old community of 890 existing homes. It will become a gated community, protected by walls and fewer entrances.

On Tuesday night, the Lauderhill city commission passed a resolution to oppose entrances on Northwest 64th Avenue and Northwest 44th Street. But representatives of 13th Floor said it would be an issue for further discussion when the site plan comes forward after the rezoning is completed.

According to the city, Wednesday’s meeting was a record-setter and was so long that Commissioner Mike Gelin sent out for pizzas and soda from Rotelli’s pizza.

“I was hungry, and I figured the residents were hungry,” he said.

Gelin and Commissioner Marlon Bolton voted against the changes for the greens. Mayor Michelle Gomez, and Commissioners Julie Fishman and Debra Placko joined together to prevail.

A spokeswoman for the developer said they were pleased the commission saw it their way.

“This approval gives us the opportunity to build upon the collaboration that has occurred for the last two years, said 13th Floor spokeswoman Karina Castano.

“We look forward to crafting a site plan that works for the Woodlands and neighboring communities for years to come.

Check back for updates to this story.

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