The Woodlands Country Club.

By: Saraana Jamraj

A group of Woodlands Country Club homeowners against new home development has united to fight for the preservation of their golf courses.

The Woodlands Defense Fund comes as a response to the planned rezoning of the land to allow developer, 13th Floor Homes, to build 423 homes where the two 18-hole golf courses are currently located.  

According to member Jose Spena, their goal is to gain solidarity to oppose the rezoning and influence the governmental authorities to protect its open green space and the prospering wildlife.

He will not disclose how much money has been raised but said that it is used to fund representation by an attorney and the writ of prohibition filed against the city of Tamarac. 

They also use the money for campaigns to move ahead as they plan their next steps. 

The group formed in late June, and during their September meeting, 25 homeowners attended. There are approximately 900 homes in the Woodlands. 

In July, after ten hours of public comments and deliberation, the mayor and commission ultimately decided to vote in favor of the land usage change, automatically allowing the application for development to go to Broward County, with Mayor Michelle Gomez, Vice Mayor Debra Placko, and Commissioner Julie Fishman voting for it, and Commissioner Marlon Bolton and Commissioner Mike Gelin voting in opposition.

Spena said while the group was grateful for the support of Commissioner Gelin and Commissioner Bolton, they were still disappointed by the outcome.

Though he aims to keep a constructive dialogue with Mayor Gomez, he also expressed concerns about her failure to align with the will of the people who will be affected by her decisions.  

“The mayor had no second thoughts to approve and to send the application to the Broward County. This undermines the stewardship of the Woodlands that its constituents afforded to her,” said Spena. “I think she put us in a position of weakness.”

The group has several concerns about the new development: safety hazards, an increase in crime rate, more traffic congestion, environmental concerns, and increased residential density that they believe is incompatible with the character of their neighborhood.

Although the city passed the land-use change, the Woodlands Defense Fund is still trying to stop the development from happening.

“The ideal outcome is the rejection of the application for the rezoning and the land use amendment, so the two golf courses, the ecosystem that they host, and the access to recreation will continue to be protected by the ordinance,” said Spena.  

The group hopes that in the future, the commissioners will align with the residents more often. 

“They are supposed to be on our side, and they must remember the importance of upholding good character.”

As they move forward, their next step is preparing to level the field for the confrontation at the Broward County planning and zoning meeting that is scheduled for January 23, at 10 a.m, where they plan to rally hundreds of people to attend the meeting.

Spena clarified that the group is not opposed to all urban development, but believes that the city has created opportunities for real estate investors as opposed to its population.

“We need to build a network of relationships between our communities. The larger the network, the better the resilience to face change and the capacity to develop intersecting areas of opportunity.”


6 Responses to "Residents Fighting Golf Course Sale Are Ready for Next Battle"

  1. Mark Borden  

    Sadly, existing home values will drop quickly, as newer, modern homes get built and at some point, they will start razing older homes as the land is the only value…Inverrary is following suit along with The Carolina Club….

    • Mark  

      Sorry Mark, As a real estate investor I couldn’t express enough that you couldn’t be more wrong. The upgrades cosmetically and to the infrastructure alone will stabilize and gradually increase the values log the older homes. The improvements will bring in younger families looking to move up in both existing and new homes

  2. susan shullman  

    This is my comment/question: If you win the battle, what happens if Club Link decides they are losing money and want out and they walk? I never hear any discussion relating to that. I personally think of that old golf course on Rock Island that looked terrible for so many years and I would not have liked that if it were my backyard. What is going to happen to the clubhouse. It is old and ugly and needs to be renovated and Club Link is not going to do it.
    If we don’t have answers, then I believe we run the risk of a real nightmare for our community. I played golf last week at Woodmont and I thought the models that are up for the new houses were lovely. The old club house is still open and looks a little nicer than ours but is still old and will be replaced by the new clubhouse that is almost complete and beautiful. I think you should visit Woodmont and think about some type of compromise.

    Susan Shullman

    • Mark  

      Your observation and comments couldn’t be more accurate

  3. Jeffrey Smoley  

    This is FUD being put out by 13th Floor. Clublink’s financials are public record (public company) and even though complex, the Woodlands Defense Fund has looked at them. The golf course is not loosing money. Simplified, what is being done is expenses of the company from other operations are being take out of the income from this portion of the company to reduce the profits shown. Clublink has closed about 26% of its courses. Obviously, they close the ones not making money. If this location were so bad, it would have been closed a long time ago. If Clublink does walk away, the city can now fine them a sufficient amount to be able to care for the grounds. If the course is run properly it will be profitable. Right now it is making money and there is no promotion of it.

  4. Jeffrey Smoley  

    Mark, You are partially correct. Even though 13th Floor claims the current home value will go up, the truth is they will go down, but not by that much, except for the two estate sections. The reason for this is that what is going to be built will be a fraction of the size of current homes on lots smaller than current ones. Remember, what you see on 13th Floor’s 2020 web site is all “concepts.” This is in writing on the web site and they have also stated this to residents. I have what was originally one of the smallest homes in the Woodlands. But many homes were customized when built, I have a 11′ X 33′ family room that was originally planned as a back patio. I added a 10′ X 33′ screened patio. No way either could be added on the tiny lots being planned. There are well built homes, most have been through Andrew and Wilma with little or no damage.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.