Sal DiCiccio Inauguration

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio gives his inauguration speech at the Orpheum Theater on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio is on a mission to make sure golf courses in the city of Phoenix stay beautiful.

DiCiccio has asked city staff to research and come up with better enforcement guidelines for course owners so that even courses that are closed, like the Lakes Golf Course in Ahwatukee Foothills, will still be taken care of.

“You can’t prevent someone from wanting to sell their golf course, but that doesn’t mean they have to allow it to look like a blight,” DiCiccio said. “It doesn’t mean they should be allowed to put up barbed-wire fences.”

The councilman said he was shocked when a barbed-wire fence was placed around the Lakes Golf Course. He said barbed wire should not be allowed to surround courses that back up to people’s backyards.

“These become extortion cases,” he said. “They make their properties look so bad that the neighbors are forced into doing something they don’t want to do or agree to. What I want to do is stop the extortion. The only way to do that is make sure the courses are maintained up to a certain level.

“No one was more shocked than I was that the city allows barbed-wire fences next to homes. I want to address that and where fences can and can’t go, and a whole host of things.”

City staff was not able to give DiCiccio a timeline for when this topic might be addressed. He expects it to take time to discover what the city can and can’t do legally. In the mean time DiCiccio has asked a few members of the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee to bring the issue up for discussion during a VPC meeting — just to ensure that all groups within the city are working together.

“This is something I think we’ll need universal approval on,” he said. “It will affect the whole city, not just Ahwatukee. No one wants to take anyone’s rights away for any reason, but they have to be respectful.”

DiCiccio said he’s focused on this issue because Wilson Gee, owner of Ahwatukee Golf Properties (AGP), owns all the golf courses in Ahwatukee Foothills. The fear is that if AGP is able to sell one course to a developer, they may decide to sell other courses.

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