PLANT CITY — The corporate owner of the troubled Walden Lake Golf and Country Club wants a judge to throw out a lawsuit that seeks to stop development on a closed 18-hole golf course.
Visions Golf LLC argues that the nonprofit that filed the lawsuit in January, Walden Lake Community Preservation Inc., doesn’t have the legal standing to sue. Visions Golf also contends there are no legal restrictions that would stop its plans to develop the closed course, known as The Hills.
Alice R. Huneycutt, a Tampa lawyer representing Visions Golf, said she is asking for a hearing to dismiss the lawsuit.
The Walden Lake group, which includes property owners in the community, is asking for a temporary and a permanent injunction to stop Visions Golf from proceeding with plans to develop the course it closed in 2013. A sister 18-hole course at Walden Lake, The Lakes, remains open.
Residents say homeowners were charged a premium to live on a golf course that is now closed.
Harley Herman, the Plant City attorney who is representing the residents group, said he wasn’t surprised Visions Golf wants to dismiss the lawsuit.
“Millions of dollars are at stake,” he said. “We never expected them to roll over and say, ‘We’ll stop.’ We are expecting a long, hard fight to protect this community.”
Huneycutt said there is nothing in the public records showing any restrictive covenants that guaranteed the land would be a golf course in perpetuity.
Visions Golf contends the financially strapped golf and country club can’t afford to operate two courses.
It has submitted plans to the city for more than 300 homes, a 100-unit adult congregate living center and reconstruction of the aging clubhouse.
The development largely follows the footprint of the closed golf course.