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Plan to build on golf course fizzles

APOLLO BEACH- The developer had proposed digging a canal and adding homes.

By CATHERINE E. SHOICHET
Published May 4, 2007


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Facing vocal resident opposition and a bumpy approval process, Newland Communities has scrapped its plans to build homes and dredge canals on the fairways of a public golf course.

But the developer still plans to build 130 homes southwest of the Apollo Beach Golf Club - a project that likely won't involve any zoning changes.

"It would have been a long, hard-fought battle to get the canals approved, " Newland regional marketing director Vaike O'Grady said.

Some residents supported the project, she said, but not enough to convince the developer to move forward.

Originally, Newland planned to create waterfront home sites by digging a canal around the golf course boundaries and building 238 homes. The company pledged to protect the environment.

That meant existing homes could have new waterfront access, and possibly increased property values.

But nearby residents were split over the plan.

Some worried about the environmental impact of canal dredging and were puzzled over the price Newland would charge for water access.

"They're only going to do things that improve their community, " said Jeanette Doyle, who has lived nearby on Chipaway Drive for nearly 20 years. "They really didn't care about the rest of us."

Others fought for the proposal, writing letters urging county officials to approve it.

"Newland Communities' goal excels by including the development of waterways, something no other developer would offer, " Bunker View Drive resident Evelyn Yates wrote in one letter.

Only one fairway will be affected by Newland's new plan, O'Grady said.

That means residents of Bunker View Drive and other streets in the Golf and Sea Village subdivision will still see sand traps from their back yards - for now.

Golf course owner Thomas Doozan could not be reached for comment. He has said rising property taxes and operations costs make it impossible to keep running the course.

"It's still the intention of the owner to sell it, " O'Grady said.

The 121-acre golf course is open to the public.

The Hillsborough County property appraiser has assessed its market value at $2.1-million.

Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichet@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2454.

[Last modified May 3, 2007, 07:12:35]


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