By Jill Fox
After details were released to the public, residents expressed anger and concern over the three proposed plans for developing the Heron Bay Golf Course.
According to the deal, 150 acres will be utilized for stormwater retention, including giant storm drains to protect the city from flooding. The other 70 acres of the parcel will be used for commercial development.
Although it wasn’t on Monday evening’s agenda, dozens of residents voiced their opinions during the public comments portion of the city commission meeting. Some were for — but mainly against the project. However, the first step in the decision-making process is up to a previously chosen selection committee, not the dais members.
“I don’t want the Mall of America down the street from my house, nor do these people,” said Neil Vogel, Heron Bay Community Association President. He sits on the selection committee with representatives from Parkland, Coral Springs, the Heron Bay Homeowners Association, and North Springs Improvement District.
Residents took turns speaking about their pride in the community and motioning towards the city seal on the wall as they pleaded with the commission to keep the property green and free from commerce.
Robert T. quoted the Parkland mission statement, “…to provide quality services while protecting the community’s unique character and natural environment….” He argued, “Putting a 70-acre commercial development property in the Heron Bay Golf Course is not congruent with that mission statement.”
The fate of the former 223-acre Heron Bay Golf Club will be determined by a vote on Wednesday, September 15, when the selection committee will choose one of the three developers.
Purchased in 2011 for $3 million by ClubLink, a Canadian corporation that owns several other South Florida clubs, they closed the golf course in 2019. On March 3, NSID signed a contract to purchase the Heron Bay Golf Course and buildings for $32 million.
Ronnie S. said, “I promise you that if you develop this project, Parkland will be destroyed – it will never be the same.”
Amidst abrupt applause, Vogel said he was so proud of the residents who came to let the commission know exactly where Heron Bay families stood on the issue. “We will not permit any of these three development systems ever to see the light of day.”
Since August 27, the selection committee has reviewed the proposals, which include shopping plazas, restaurants, fountains, even botanical gardens that could potentially occupy the commercial portion of the project built on the land. The developer with the highest score will have a seat at the negotiation table.
Neil B. thinks it’s insane to select one of these three proposals. “I can’t believe we need a mega shopping center built here within our beautiful Heron Bay community engulfing houses,” he said.
One by one, residents called the choices delusional, even referring back to promises commissioners made while campaigning.
Heron Bay resident and Commissioner Simeon Brier spoke about his concern for the golf course views and the safety and traffic that this would cause. “I’m opposed to the three proposals as they stand,” he said.
Mayor Rich Walker asked the residents to be patient. He said NSID promised to keep the property 70 percent green, and that’s a huge win. “These conceptual designs are just that, conceptual – there is nothing for us to review, approve or deny,” said Walker.
Commissioner Jordan Isrow pointed out, “It is just not realistic to believe that someone is going to pay $30 million for a green park to remain grass.”
Parkland Bay resident John F. had a similar view. “I think this is a phenomenal option considering if Lennar or another builder got their hands on 225 acres, we could be talking about 1,000 homes and commercial property.”
Vice Mayor Bob Mayersohn encouraged residents to attend the NSID meeting on Wednesday. “My recommendation for you is to go down to NSID and voice your opinion there,” he said. “I don’t know what the results will be, but I can tell you that is the place to go.”
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