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Fairways homes may lose greens

A developer wants to line up almost 600 homes on the 18-hole Quail Hollow course.

By CHUIN-WEI YAP
Published March 27, 2007


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WESLEY CHAPEL - A 39-year-old central Pasco landmark is the latest golf course to face the advancing rumble of home builders.

Today, it's still the Quail Hollow Golf & Country Club, an 18-hole championship course off Old Pasco Road.

But by the time Landshore Communities is through, the 174-acre site might be just Quail Hollow.

The Michigan developer wants to raise 597 homes on the golf course, which is also home to 34 acres of wetlands and 10 acres of lakes. No commercial component is proposed.

Landshore bought the golf course from Quail Hollow Golf & Country Club in November for $7.6-million, according to county records.

The developer would need a rezoning to build that many homes, but no public hearing dates have been set yet.

County planners are still locked in discussions with Landshore and could push the developer to decrease the number of planned homes.

The proposed density has set the neighbors on edge. Some have called for the rezoning to be denied.

But county officials say the golf course is already zoned for some residences, and could be entitled to 290 homes even without rezoning. Landshore wants to rezone the site in hopes of gaining more density.

George Kralevich, Landshore's local representative, said the county's land use plan could allow them to argue for as many as 660 homes, though the developer is willing to consider neighbors' needs.

"We're not trying to jam a lot of stuff in there," Kralevich said.

It's not great news for those who bought into the Fairways of Quail Hollow, a 116-home development that surrounds the golf course.

They had hoped to gain value from owning a property abutting the golf course. Still, neighbors say they could not recall any formal commitment when they bought their homes that the golf course would be a permanent feature, though they said it was implied.

Golf's business appeal has been waning in recent years. Other courses, like Valley Oaks in Zephyrhills, are also giving way to homes. Developers have floated similar proposals for the golf courses in Port Richey's Timber Oaks and New Port Richey's Gulf Harbors. And Connerton dropped a golf course from its plans in October 2005.

Bill Warstler, who heads the Fairways of Quail Hollow Homeowners Association, and his neighbor, John Ley, said they had heard nothing official on the latest developments.

"We only learned about this through rumors a day or two ago," Ley said.

Both Warstler and Ley are worried about the development's effect on their flood-prone area. In December, the County Commission approved plans for another development, the 477-home Grantham Ranch, which neighbors feared could add to drainage problems.

"That's really my biggest concern," Warstler said. "If they start changing the elevation, it's going to have a severe impact on the homes here."

Quail Hollow is within 600 feet of a Tampa Bay Water production well, the Cypress Creek Wellfield and the drainage basin of the Hillsborough River.

Chuin-Wei Yap can be reached at (813) 909-4613 or cyap@sptimes.com.

[Last modified March 26, 2007, 23:50:49]


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