Lakes Golf Course

The Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee (AFVPC) unanimously voted to support proposed stricter zoning ordinances for closed golf courses regarding fencing.

The changes, if adopted, will force golf course owners to seek a use permit before putting up any fencing around a closed course, would require the fencing to be set back 50 feet from the street, would not allow any barbed-wire or razor wire near residential areas, and would set a time limit for all temporary fencing.

The committee did ask the city to include in the ordinance language about who would enforce the zoning and to consider addressing signage.

“This has potential to impact another course in the area,” said Chad Blostone, a member of the AFVPC. “Which one? Who knows… We can only go so far to prevent some of this, but I think we can do a few things to mitigate it or to make it a little bit better. That’s what we’re doing here. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s in the right direction.”

The city cannot prevent any golf course owner from putting up a fence, city staff said. Otherwise, the city would be taking on any liability if an issue were to occur on the course.

The crowd at the meeting Monday night included several people from Save the Lakes, a group fighting to keep the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course from being developed. While the group voiced a desire for the city to do more to protect golf courses and a desire for the owner of the Lakes Golf Course to obey the deed restriction placed on the land, Ben Holt, president of Save the Lakes, said he did support the ordinance.

The idea for the ordinance change came when fencing was put up around the closed Lakes Golf Course practically over night. Through negotiations that fencing was moved to only surround the lakes on the course and the barbed-wire was removed. City Councilman Sal DiCiccio asked the city to review zoning ordinances to prevent a similar situation from happening to any other neighborhood.

“This ensures that what happened to you folks cannot happen again in the city of Phoenix,” said Doug Cole, president of the AFVPC. “Putting up miles of fencing like what happened to you folks cannot happen again. It is firmly noted that it has to be a public process to get a special use permit. There will be a public hearing, a lot of publicity, it cannot happen overnight like it happened to you. That’s why we’re here today.”

The ordinance change is being presented to all village planning committees across Phoenix before it returns to a planning hearing officer on May 13.

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