By Bryan Boggiano
The City of Parkland Commission unanimously agreed to take steps to purchase the former Heron Bay Golf Course at its June 30 meeting.
Although the city has yet to agree to purchase the land, the approved motion allows the City Manager to complete land purchase negotiations and conduct property appraisals, environmental studies and market analysis. .
“It was my mission…to protect and control as best we could., along with those at Heron Bay Golf Course,” Commissioner Simeon Brier said. “It was imperative for me and the people I’ve heard from and talked to that we get the right end result.
The former 223-acre golf course opened in the 1990s but closed in 2019. Clublink sold the property to North Springs Improvement District in 2019 for $32 million.
NSID plans to use 150 acres for stormwater retention, green space, 5 miles of walking trails, water and rest stations, and a memorial for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
The remaining 70 acres would be used for residential or commercial space.
But, a covenant restriction on those 70 acres prohibits any development, including residential or commercial, on that parcel of land until 2028. This resulted in a lawsuit from Citizens Against Golf Course Redevelopment, Inc.
“[The development] affected [residents’] back yard. It affects traffic, it affects schools, it affects their property values,” Brier said.
Three builders have offered their plans to NSID, Toll Brothers of West Palm Beach, Falcone Group of Boca Raton and East Coast Builders of Davie have been in talks to develop on Heron Bay – the East Coast causing significant pushback from residents .
“The current status of NSID and East Coast builders working together to build a monstrous commercial project in… Heron Bay is inappropriate and highly offensive to residents who live in or near Heron Bay,” said Neil Bass, co-director and founder of CAGCRI.
The purchase of land also poses budgetary problems.
Parkland could buy the property for around $25 million, just under half the city’s budget. Parkland could recover about $7 million from Coral Springs, but the latter city would have to approve this measure.
However, the city could incur up to $300,000 a year in maintenance costs and possibly have to reimburse the Heron Bay Homeowners Association.
City officials said residential taxes would not increase to account for the purchase and that there were sufficient funds set aside; some upgrades to parks and urban signage may be delayed.
Parkland may also recover funds from the developer chosen by the city.
While it’s unclear whether the city will gain or lose money from the investment, the commissioners ultimately want to do good for the residents of Heron Bay.
“The idea is to say that 50 years from now, when people look at this the way you’re talking about Heron Bay, we hope people in this room are going to say, ‘you know what, they got it’. said Commissioner Jordan Isrow.
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A journalism graduate from the University of Florida, Bryan plans to study geoscience at Florida International University for his master’s degree. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment and journalism.