The City of Bonita Springs wants to make it more difficult for golf courses to redevelop into residential communities.
City Manager Carl Schwing said some courses are feeling the effects of golf’s decline in popularity.
“Actually, there are a couple who have indicated interest in selling and redeveloping,” Schwing said.
Vacant courses already surrounded by homes are appealing to developers. That’s why the city is considering passing a temporary ban so golf courses can’t transition their land for residential development.
Under current city codes, a golf course would only have to go through the rezoning process.
“Development regulations beyond that are nonexistent. So, since this is a new phenomenon in the United States, we want to make sure we get out in front of it as much as possible,” Schwing said.
James Romano’s home overlooks a former golf course in Bonita Springs. He’s afraid of over-development and what it could mean for traffic, property values, and flooding.
“Where all this water is going to go to after they build all these homes, all this property, where is that going to drain to,” questioned Romano.
The moratorium would last a year but could be extended.
In that time, the council will work on new land codes looking at things like setbacks and buffers. The city said they want to protect the rights of both property owners and developers.
Romano is happy to hear it, “That’s actually a good thing. They need to put thought into what’s going on here. Being specific is going to be their friend, being general is going to be their enemy.”
The city will discuss the proposal on Dec. 6 and 20. There will be public hearings both nights.
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