Woodlands Country Club entrance. Photo by Sharon Aron Baron.

By: Anne Geggis

A developer will take a second shot in front of the city planning board Wednesday to get its approval for a plan to turn two golf courses at the Woodlands Country Club into hundreds of homes.

Development company, 13th Floor Homes, did not sink it at last month’s planning board meeting which turned into a marathon of residents’ questions stretching into a five-hour session. The proposal to build 423 homes on the mammoth 165-acre golf greens owned by ClubLink was tabled and continued to Wednesday’s meeting.

The planning board meets on Wednesday for the latest round.

In the face of more information about the proposal, residents opposition remains vehement, said Patricia Newlin, an accountant who has lived at the Woodlands for seven years.

“Some of the things they (13th Floor Homes) said they would do, they can’t do, even if they wanted to,” she said, citing two proposed entrances that would need neighboring Lauderhill’s approval.

If the planning board approves, the proposal to turn the area zoned for golf into residential space, would go to the city commission on July 10. Once approved there, it would also need a green light from the Broward County Commission. And, after it goes to the county level, it must come back to the city commission for a second review. That’s likely to take a year.

13th Floor Homes is promising this will be a long-anticipated upgrade for the 50-year-old community of 890 existing homes. The proposal calls for it to become a gated community, protected by walls and fewer entrances.

But residents look at the new homes’ zero lot lines and increased number of bedrooms warily. They say it doesn’t fit with the current character of the development and also worry about more acreage becoming hard surfaces that can’t absorb rainwater. And It’s not the retirement community that was envisioned when the Woodlands was developed,  said Jeff Smoley, a 13-year resident of the community.

“Many of these homes, except for the Estates section, were two bedrooms, two baths,” Smoley said. “All of their (proposed) homes are starting at three bedrooms, two baths and they’re going to be four-bedroom” houses, he said. “My parents, when they retired, had one car and today, almost everyone (among retired couples) has two cars. If there are teenagers, they could have four cars.

“There’s no on-street parking,” he added.“No parking other than the driveway and the garage. Traffic is going to be a complete nightmare.”

The proposal coming to Wednesday’s meeting is the same as the one that was tabled, except it will have responses to the questions that arose the last time it was discussed.

Many of the answers to those questions will come when the site plans come before the city after the land use rules are changed from recreational use to allowing residences. Lauderhill and Tamarac are already working on a traffic study, it says.

The planning board meets at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 5, at city hall.

10 Responses to "Woodlands Residents Object to their Golf Greens Sprouting New Homes"

  1. Ronald Rose  

    I am a thirty year resident of the Woodlands Country Club and I see no reason for the City to change the rules under which the community has operated during my tenure there. It is a place where new citizens to Tamarc visit in deciding if this is a city for them. We watch bridal parties have their pictures in and around the lake and entrance to the community. Tamarac deserves better than the current proposal. Ron Rose, Guava Drive

  2. Mark  

    The title of this article is very misleading. It should read, “Some Woodlands Residents” Many of us are in favor of it.

    Editor: Good point Mark. If you’d like to share why you are for the development this, please contact TheWoodlandsFL@gmail.com and we will make sure we quote you next time.

  3. Some are in favor but the vast majority are not. Too much traffic, disruptive to our way of life.

  4. BOB WOOD  

    I have lived here for over 20 years. The Woodlands has gone from a prestigious community to a tired, over the hill and frankly, a little shabby area to live. One way or the other, golf is over. I think what has been proposed will be a shot in the arm for the Woodlands.

  5. Mark  

    I and many other have already had email responses in support of the project prepared by 13th Floor. From what I understand they will be submitted to the city at the meeting tomorrow.

    One thing though, you really should have done a little better research for your story by finding more sources besides Jeff. He’s against and only posts negatives that aren’t altogether true. Not saying he’s lying, but he likes to leave out facts if it doesn’t benefit his cause, Example, He’s all worried about traffic inside the Woodlands? There’s currently no traffic in the Woodlands really to speak of. You can stand on any given street within the Woodland except for Woodlands Blvd and probably go 15 minutes to a half hour without seeing a car. There are so many cul-de-sacs in the Woodlands that traffic is virtually non existent. As for Woodlands Blvd, the busiest street in the Woodlands? I’ve personally stood there with my dog looking for the so called traffic and at times it would be 10 minutes before a car came down the street. I bet there isn’t anywhere within 30 miles of here that wouldn’t beg for our traffic situation. Jeff knows this but choses to leave this out. He’s a very bright guy who just doesn’t want change in the neighborhood. He also has a knowledge of developing real estate but talks about how the neighborhood will flood knowing full well that a quality builder will have this all engineered before they even start a project like this but choses not to say so leaving current residents in fear. If you walk through the Woodlands, it’s dying. It’s aging rapidly. It has a golf course barely used and in poor condition by any successful golf course standards. Its bound to shut down and deteriorate further if this deal fell through. 13th Floor wants to bring the Woodlands back to prominence, update with high quality areas for all residents. 13th Floor has bent over backwards with numerous meeting with all sections of the Woodlands to see what we’d like incorporated, You don’t often see this with Real Estate Developers, They normally just come in, buy the land, get the permits and do what they want and your stuck with it. That’s what will happen to the Woodlands if people continue to fight against them rather than work with them for the betterment of all.

    • Jeffrey Smoley  

      Mark, The traffic in the Woodlands is during rush hour. Now it is tolerable, add 1000+ vehicles and you will see delays. Not just because of Woodlands Blvd, but the closing of all other exits/entrances except Sago Palm, which will be a mess because Manor Parc has 3 exits on to Rock Island and that will add to the traffic. BTW, my traffic information comes from 13th Floor’s own traffic appraisal presented to the city with all local intersections failing during rush hours. 13th Floor also stated that most of their traffic “improvements’ are not probable. As to the flooding, 13th Floor already has their plan to add 20 acres of additional water retention. Pods G & H will have more than 20 acres or homes & roads, thus negating all 20 acres. Banyan Lane was floored from Commercial to Woodlands Blvd. That is 6 acres not counting side roads and circles. 13th Floor has made some verbal promises, but has yet to put anything in writing. At their last meeting with Section 7 they refused to make any concessions. In Tampa, 13th Floor made numerous promises to a golf course community there, but when came time to put it on paper, they refused to honor anything they has said to get the community to go along with the development. Luckily for the community, the owner of the golf course refused to sell under those conditions. These are facts. 13th Floor is doing its song & dance, not out of the goodness of its heart, but because the local laws require them to do it. They need 66 2/3% of the homeowners to go along with their plan. Most sections are about 75% against. 13th knows what the people that want compromise want, but hasn’t put one thing down in writing that would hold them to it, but has requested that the homeowners put in writing that they favor development. These are all facts. Not opinions or as 13th Floor puts it on the Woodlands2020.com web site “concepts.” There is no commitment to build anything on that web site. Everything is a concept. New traffic lanes on land that don’t own. No sufficient parking for the homes. Take a look at Central Parc or Manor Parc. Cars parked on the street all hours of the day because most of the 2 & 3BR homes have single car garages. When we had the floods in 2018, so did these 2 developments, showing how well their flood drainage planning worked.

  6. lise  

    I have lived here for almost 15 years and oppose the proposed development. For all reasons voiced: Traffic; flooding issues; school issues; overdevelopment; City mis-management or let me say less oversight AND a risky “District” that will not be able to bear the burden of all the costs associated with the proposed “amenities” ….. and will naturally default to the current homeowners. No one is talking about protecting the community for the debt … WIll the CITY take it on once 13th floor walks away from the development when the homes do not sell OR when the prospective homebuyers fail to pay their taxes that will be exponentially higher for the amenities? Yes, the community needs help since clublink has abandoned the property but why not keep the recreational use and build something more productive for the woodlands …. Hotel/Resort? We are afterall only 9 miles west of the beach. There has to be a better solution than just to line developers pockets – line the City’s tax roll and leave the residents with the headaches. What does the City do for us anyway? Not much … which brings me full circle … who will buy in the City “for your life” that does nothing to serve it’s community?

  7. Rick  

    It’s been 5 years we moved into the Woodlands from MASS, after almost staying in the Aventura area we chose to come here because of the beautiful and peaceful landscaping you see around you and now to think most of all this could or will be gone it’s a shame.
    Unfortunately we have lived through a similar situation and it was a total nightmare for the residents as usually is, developers will promise you everything they can to allure you into all possible reasons why you should agree but at the end they’ll leave you hanging with most of promises undone and the trust broken fixing all issues left behind ( keep in mind that all economists are alerting a new recession is to come starting perhaps the end on this year to new year come, that’s scary to even think what this would became for years ahead )
    You go around Broward and West Palm and you still see plenty of empty land that can be developed they don’t need to come here they want to because at the it’s cheaper for them to built and profit.
    Remember, If we all stand together they won’t win.

    Peace .

  8. Many people are still interested in moving into The Woodlands CC. I am currently working with 2 clients, have worked with several buyers earlier this year that say this is a one of a kind community within busy Broward and Tamarac. I find it interesting that just as many do not want it, many newbies do want it. Prices range from $250 – $1M+, a range for many types of families. Nevertheless, still beautiful and on demand. This is my opinion as a future buyer into the community and a local Realtor in Tamarac.

  9. Doc Bud  

    Having lived in the Woodlands for 33 years I can’t say that I have seen it all, but I HAVE come close. Consistently striving to reach goals in life, I moved on an average of once every ten years to what I felt was a better home and location in the Woodlands.
    A nicer more spacious home is always a plus but nothing beats a better location. Hence a beautiful home in a crime filled environment will have less value as the same size home
    situated on a spacious open green landscape surrounded by a nice canal.
    Remember : the 3 most important factors in real estate. *Location,*Location,*Location*

    The fact is that larger homes situated on large landscaped locations will bring a lot more value on a resale than the same home being built in the same location but trading the open landscape for the construction of 50 % more homes and 50% more traffic in that location.

    On the flip side, a couple of magnificent manned and gated entrances can enhance the value of an older community as long as the homes being built do not take the place of the existing open green and watered landscape of the Estate homes in that area.
    i.e : If the smaller homes being built are not mixed into the same section of a Country Club where the larger “high end” homes and properties are located.

    Notwithstanding, the congestion that 50% more homes and additional vehicles will bring to a property *already surrounded by traffic issues* will still result in a financial loss and emotional disaster for those homeowners who specifically purchased the “high end” luxury residences to escape those issues.

    That group of people will be the most affected and would certainly have a severe loss if they tried to sell their premium type home with a premium type lot to a discriminating buyer.

    My real estate background has been investing, mentoring and funding in the real estate arena for 38 years. I have enjoyed living in the Woodlands for 33 of those years and could have lived any other place in the county. The Woodlands was not perfect but it had the close proximity to the turnpike, several world class type homes on both Woodlands boulevard and White Oak Lane and breathtaking large lots that one does not usually find in a good size city like Tamarac. I was in good company. We had a few retired Billionaires living in the Woodlands before and during the time of my residing in the Woodlands.

    Yes, this place has a lot of history, to include the original developer, Ken Behring, a Billionaire that donated wheel chairs to children in need. Additionally 2 Food Company Billionaires chose this as their retirement community. As a young nobody, who was I not to be impressed?

    ** The prudent financial Rule of Thumb in Real Estate has always been: “Buy the cheapest home in the best and most desirable location.
    That rule of thumb only changes when the property is situated on a nice body of water such as a lake or larger or on a beautiful natural landscape as we see in Country Clubs with “Parklike”settings. Hen the sky is the limit. Buy the nicest home you can and one day some major financial “player” with discriminating taste will be happy to buy it from you.
    (all things being equal) Removing the landscape and replacing it with extreme traffic and 50% more homes will not keep “all things equal”

    That is what the issue seems to be for most people in those locations. How will “they” be compensated for their losses when their hi end custom built home no longer sits on that “premium location”.

    Life is never easy people. We just hope that everyone does the right thing and that people are not “sold out” as we have seen several times before. Unfortunately it has happened twice in our own city with 2 golf courses.
    Fortunately for those people their development was made up of “cookie cutter” inexpensive homes that were “not” situated in a prestigious Country Club setting.

    Thank You for allowing me my 2 cents and for reading my thoughts.

    Doc Bud
    37 years in Tamarac
    33 years in Woodlands
    And still only 39 years old …lol


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