Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation generated by the Save the Lakes group related to the closed Ahwatukee Lakes golf course. It is time to set the record straight on what currently appears to be the sole solution on a sustainable use for the second life of the former Lakes golf course:
Pulte had nothing to do with closing the Lakes golf course. This decision was made solely by the owner after years of unprofitable operations.
Pulte is under contract to purchase the closed Lakes golf course for redevelopment and has no intention of developing the Ahwatukee Country Club. In fact, if we are successful in amending the deed restriction and purchasing the course, Pulte will donate $1 million to be solely used for improving the Ahwatukee Country Club.
While it is true the Lakes golf course deed restriction indicates the property cannot be used for anything other than a golf course, the current blighted golf course complies with the deed restriction, which does not require a golf operation to continue when it is losing money.
Pulte’s proposed development would not exceed 250 homes and would maintain at least 38 percent of the site in open space, including a minimum landscaped buffer of 75 feet around the perimeter to respect the residents who border the Lakes course. The open space provided in the community would be professionally maintained, which is a quality alternative when compared to the closed golf course that is not being maintained. Adding 250 homes to the Ahwatukee Foothills Village planning area is an increase of less than 1 percent, so it really should not be considered a significant increase in homes to the area.
The current condition of the decaying golf course has and will continue to have a detrimental impact on real estate values in Ahwatukee. Pulte’s proposed development would end this uncertainty by adding homes that would sell for values in excess of the homes surrounding the course. Ultimately, Pulte’s proposed solution would stabilize and increase neighboring home values.
CivTech, a traffic engineering consultant, performed a professional traffic study pursuant to city of Phoenix guidelines to identify rush-hour impacts from Pulte’s proposed development. CivTech assumed a street capacity threshold less than the city’s design capacities for each surrounding roadway. The results of the study, as noted below, indicate Pulte’s development will not increase peak-hour traffic above city of Phoenix standard guidelines for arterial and collector roads:
• Knox Road — with full buildout of Pulte’s homes will be at only 16 percent of peak-hour capacity (currently at 15 percent of capacity)
• Warner Road — 46 percent of capacity (currently at 41 percent of capacity)
• 44th Street — 76 percent of capacity (currently at 68 percent of capacity)
• 48th Street — 83 percent of capacity (currently at 81 percent of capacity)
As with many golf courses, the Lakes golf course conveys area stormwater drainage from South Mountain and the adjacent subdivisions. Erie and Associates performed a professional drainage study pursuant to city guidelines to determine the existing drainage conditions, as well as to design a post development drainage solution with Pulte’s proposed new homes. Pulte’s development would be constructed to provide added storage while maintaining the existing pre-development stormwater drainage conditions. In summary, Erie and Associates concluded Pulte’s development can be safely constructed while improving both regional and local drainage requirements to comply with the city’s guidelines. An added benefit to the proposed drainage channel within the site will include the first Ahwatukee trail corridor for public benefit.
When operational, the Lakes golf course consumed approximately 600 acre-feet of groundwater to maintain the landscaping and lakes. The 17 acres of lakes on the former course also lost an estimated 40 million gallons of water annually to evaporation, not to mention losses due to lake liner leakage. The proposed Pulte development with less than 250 homes and approximately 40 acres of landscaped open space will use approximately 300 acre-feet annually (based on consumptive use factors from the Arizona Department of Water Resources). This means that water consumption with the new Pulte development would decrease water consumption on the property to less than half of what was being used to maintain the course.
Don’t be misled by incorrect information being generated by the Save the Lakes group. For more information, visit www.PulteAhwatukee.com or feel free to ask us any questions you might have in person by attending one of our upcoming informational presentations in July. Presentation dates, times and locations will be posted on our website.
• Mike Brilz is vice president of land for PulteGroup’s Arizona Division.