By Bryan Boggiano
The Parkland City Commission unanimously agreed to take steps to purchase the former Heron Bay Golf Course at their June 30 meeting.
While the city did not yet agree to purchase the land, the approved motion allows the city manager to complete negotiations on the land purchase and conduct property appraisals, environmental studies, and market analyses.
“It’s been my mission…to protect and control the best we can, with those on the Heron Bay Golf Course,” said Commissioner Simeon Brier. “It has been imperative to me and folks I’ve heard from and spoke with that we get the right ultimate result.”
The 223-acre former golf course opened in the 1990s but closed in 2019. Clublink sold the property to North Springs Improvement District in 2019 for $32 million.
NSID plans to use 150 acres for stormwater retention, green space, 5 miles of pedestrian trails, water and rest stations, and a memorial for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting victims.
The remaining 70 acres would be used for residential or commercial space.
But, a covenant restriction on those 70 acres forbids any development, including residential or commercial, on that plot of land until 2028. This has resulted in a lawsuit from Citizens Against Golf Course Redevelopment, Inc.
“[The development] affects [residents’] backyards. It affects the traffic, it affects the schools, it affects their property values,” Brier said.
Three builders have proposed their plans to NSID, Toll Brothers of West Palm Beach, Falcone Group of Boca Raton, and East Coast Builders of Davie have been in talks to develop on Heron Bay — with East Coast prompting significant pushback from residents.
“The current status of NSID and East Coast Builders working together to build a monstrous commercial project in…Heron Bay is inappropriate and highly insulting to residents who live in or anywhere near Heron Bay,” said Neil Bass, CAGCRI co-director and founder.
The land purchase also raises budgetary concerns.
Parkland could buy the property for roughly $25 million, just shy of half of the city’s budget. Parkland could get about $7 million back from Coral Springs, but the latter city would have to approve that measure.
But, the city could incur up to $300,000 per year in maintenance costs and potentially have to pay back the Heron Bay Homeowners Association.
City officials stated that residential taxes would not increase to accommodate the purchase, and there is enough in reserved funds; certain upgrades to parks and city signage could face delays.
Parkland can also recover funds from whichever developer the city ultimately chooses.
While it is unknown whether the city will make or lose money off the investment, commissioners ultimately want to do right for Heron Bay residents.
“The idea is to say that 50 years from now, when people look back on this the same way you’re talking about Heron Bay, we hope that people in this room say that, ‘you know what, they got it right,'” said Commissioner Jordan Isrow.
Proposals by Developers
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- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan plans to pursue geosciences at Florida International University for his master's. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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