heron Bay Golf course
Concept image of Emporium by developer Upper Buena Vista Management.

By Sharon Aron Baron

A Parkland group filed a lawsuit to stop the commercial development on the Heron Bay Golf Course on Nov. 5.

Citizens Against Golf Course Redevelopment, Inc. (CAGCRI) filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Broward County against North Springs Improvement District to enforce the existing deed restriction on the golf course.

“We bought our homes knowing that nothing could be built on the golf course for 30 years. We will do everything in our power to enforce the restrictive covenant,” said Neil Bass, co-founder and director of CAGCRI. “We refuse to be steamrolled by NSID.”

The group is represented by Joseph Garrity of Lorium Law, a land-use attorney.

Robert Tankoo, co-founder and president of the group, alleges that in 2020, NSID sought to buy 150 acres of the Heron Bay Golf Course for $15 million to create a preserve — which is perfectly allowable –however, in a statement he said just four months later, in a backroom deal doubling the cost to taxpayers, 70 acres are added to the purchase for commercial development. The Florida Legislature did not grant the NSID the power to be a commercial developer.

“We are looking for more people to join our group. People who are passionate about preventing government organizations and officials from abusing their power and failing to represent their constituents,” said Tankoos.”We are asking people to visit our website, stophbstores.com, and participate in our struggle.”

NSID considered using eminent domain to acquire the 150 acres of the golf course it allegedly needed for water management in the filing. In January 2021, the NSID Board of Supervisors authorized staff to exercise eminent domain over the 150 acres. The filing states that it is unknown why its staff did not carry out the directive. Instead, NSID purchased the entire 220 acres after requesting a legal opinion that the purchase would wipe out deed restrictions and make commercial development possible. 

The deed restrictions were put in place for the benefit of Heron Bay homeowners. Yet, this plan was not objected to by Neil Vogel, who serves as the president of the Heron Bay HOA and is on the Board of Supervisors of NSID, according to the filing.

The lawsuit alleges Upper Buena Vista Management Michal Aviv and David Lahmy’s plan to build a sprawling, 529,000 square foot commercial complex within the residential community of Heron Bay will engulf 80 homes and intrude on the quiet, peaceful lifestyle of Parkland residents.

“How is it possible that a commercial project, nearly the size of CityPlace in West Palm Beach, can be built within the residential community of Heron Bay, engulfing 80 homes and infringing on the serene, suburban lifestyle of the families who make this their home?” said Bass. “The project must be stopped.”

The Heron Bay Golf Course was purchased in 2010 for $4.75 million by ClubLink, a Canadian corporation that owns several other South Florida clubs. NSID signed a contract on Mar. 3, 2021, to purchase the land and buildings for $32 million.

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Sharon Aron Baron
Sharon Aron Baron is a Parkland resident and editor of Talk Media. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views, and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.