I am a 35-year resident of Ahwatukee and I read with interest Ed Corona’s commentary on the golf course situation (“Save The Lakes needs new plan,” AFN, July 30). The overall gist was that since there seems to be no other solution on the horizon, we had best accept the Pulte program and move on lest the situation gets only worse. Win one for Mr. Gee.
What baffles me, and deeply disappoints, is the absolute lack of any apparent protections for the homeowners. The ABM (Ahwatukee Board of Management), who can make your life a perfect hell over an unpainted fence, has taken a by on the situation saying it is beyond their responsibilities. A homeowner can be harassed with impunity, but a larger landowner, who might actually be able to push back, is given a pass. And we pay for this “protection.”
How about our city? Remember all the huff and fuss when all of this started and Councilman Sal DiCiccio promised to keep this from happening by refusing to give Gee/Pulte a building permit unless the CC&R’s were changed accordingly. Well, the CC&R’s still stand, and what do we have to show for it? Empty lakes and dead fairways. Mr. Corona tied the decline of the affected property to its reduced usage by golfers. I don’t golf but considered the land and lakes to be a beautiful oasis in the desert. You don’t have to be a golfer to appreciate that. Where was the city when the center of this old established community was gutted for personal gain? Could the city have considered purchasing the property and at least maintained it as a park? Don’t we have city rules on blight in a neighborhood? If you let your home run down, wouldn’t you be cited? If you drained your pool and left it full of dirt and dead leaves, would you not be cited and fined? But Mr. Gee? He has moved with apparent impunity, creating a wasteland within our community for the sole purpose of his personal profit, and no one has held him accountable for the incalculable damage he has done to the adjoining landowners property.
This is a war of attrition and we are losing. So, neighbors, where are your protections? Didn’t you believe that the annual dues we paid the ABM were to protect the entire Ahwatukee community? Didn’t you believe/hope that your city and elected officials would do the same? Did you think your deed restrictions for golf course property were worth more than the paper they were printed on? The answer is no one seems to care sufficiently to affect the situation, and this does not bode well for the future of Ahwatukee or any other planned communities. It’s the homeowners who are being cast as the villains in this scenario. Meanwhile, Mr. Gee has the money to wait all of us out and Pulte sits in the wings to pick up the pieces.