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Thursday, Jul 24, 2014
Plant City Courier

City OKs law giving inspectors more authority over closed golf course

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City commissioners have unanimously approved a law requiring better maintenance of nearly all of the shuttered Walden Lake golf course.

The ordinance that gives city code enforcers more authority over public nuisances was adopted with little discussion. Shelly Orrico, who lives on the course, urged the commissioners to adopt the law.

Orrico was the only member of the public to speak at the May 12 public hearing.

The ordinance doesn’t specifically target Walden Lake but a review of the course prompted the law.

Among other provisions, property owners are required to keep grass and underbrush no taller than 10 inches within 200 feet of any building, park or street. There are exemptions, such as for agriculture.

The previous buffer was 100 feet.

The 200-foot requirement forces the mowing of all but the widest parts of The Hills golf course in Walden Lake because it is surrounded by homes and roads.

The course, owned by Visions Golf LLC, closed the 18-hole course nearly a year ago. A sister 18-hole course, the Lakes, remains open.

Assistant City Manager Bill McDaniel has said the law governing public nuisances needs to be stronger — and not just for Walden Lake.

The ordinance also tightens regulations regarding fences around swimming pools and garbage on private property.

Visions Golf Managing Partner Steve Mercer has said his company will comply with the new regulations.

Visions Golf has signed a contract to sell 131 acres to Coastal Companies, which plans to develop the land for housing and an assisted living facility. The deal is contingent on the city approving rezoning of the land for development

Twitter: @dnicholsonTBO

dnicholson@tampatrib.com

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