A Florida golf community’s plan to shrink course from 18 to 12 holes and add villas was voted down

VENICE, Florida – The Venice Planning Commission voted against a developer’s proposal to shrink the Hawks Run Golf Course at Bird Bay Village from 18 to 12 holes and allow for the addition of up to 45 villas, as well as construction of a new clubhouse and restaurant.

The 7-0 decision Tuesday came after a more than four-hour public hearing and turned on how broadly the city advisory board interpreted the use of a neighborhood open space protection strategy that was noted in the 2017 Venice growth plan, in a section pertaining to the Pinebrook Neighborhood.

That strategy calls for protection of open space within an existing residential development from redevelopment and infill development, and also notes that “reduction or elimination of open spaces developed consistent with the underlying” zoning “shall not be supported by the city.”

Related: Venice planning board to hear request to add 45 homes to golf course

Because the decision was made in a court-like hearing, those legal underpinnings for the decision will matter both when the City Council considers the development in two more public hearings, as well as if the issue lands in circuit court.

Planning Commission Chairman Bill Willson pointed that out as a key; board member Lissa MacDonald made the motion to reject the proposed amendment to the Bird Bay Planned Unit Development.

Jeff Boone, the attorney for Hawks Run developer Jason Picciano, managing partner of Paradise Realty Holdings, had argued that the preservation strategy – which only appears once in the comprehensive plan, in the Pinebrook section – should not apply to Bird Bay.

“Can we agree with that or do we think that’s wrong?” planning board Chairman BillWilson asked the board.

All commissioners also said there was not enough detail in the request to change the binding master plan.

Boone had countered that Hawks Run would follow the same pattern that existed in the current development.

Planning Commission Member Jerry Jasper said the residents may change their minds about opposing the development if more details were available.

More than two dozen people spoke about the development. Only four – including one prospective buyer of a Hawks Run unit – were in favor.

Most talked about the expectation of that land remaining undeveloped, and the potential loss of their views – as well as the promise of previous developers to preserve the golf course.

“We are coming up to our 50th anniversary as a community and we hope that you will honor the promises that were made to this community in past documents,” said Anne McBride, who added that a redesign of the course – which has fallen into disrepair – would be welcome.

Wil Brickner brought photos of the view from his Florida room – a panoramic view of the adjacent course.

“I ask that you don’t take my wife’s view away,” he added.

Unbuilt dwelling units

Bird Bay Village,

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By: Earle Kimel
Title: A Florida golf community's plan to shrink course from 18 to 12 holes and add villas was voted down
Sourced From: golfweek.usatoday.com/2022/11/19/florida-golf-community-shrink-course-from-18-to-12-holes/
Published Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2022 14:00:59 +0000

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