Is there anything new that can be said about the future of the closed Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course? I think so. The battles over various issues have resulted in some things becoming fairly clear, and it is perhaps time to look at realistic options and compromises. As a starter, let’s look at what we know now.
First, there would be major traffic problems related to the access and exit roads connected to 44th and 48th streets, if a significant number of family homes are built on the property.
Second, there are significant drainage problems to be addressed, ones that require much of the 101 acres to be free of homes, other structures and roads. Several lakes need to be kept and a major channel needs to be cut and maintained across the entire length of the property.
Third, it has not been established that it would be reasonable, or unreasonable, to reopen the golf course; a formal study and report by an independent committee is needed — perhaps set in motion by a court.
Fourth, the continued closure of the course has resulted in a growing eyesore, decreasing property values and a very sad state of affairs for the environment and wildlife.
There are, of course, other matters of concern, but they are probably secondary to these. It should also be noted that this author assumes that there are two legal ways to change the CCR&Es: (1) by a vote of 51 percent of “Benefitted Persons;” or, (2) a Superior Court “modification” of the CCR&Es based on a “material change in conditions or circumstances affecting the property.” This second option may need further study, but section “6.Term” of the 1992 Covenants may turn out to be a very important and overlooked item in the battles over this property.
IF there is a modification of the zoning, one which allows some kind(s) of limited development, there are some basic “givens:”
A. The focus should be on senior (over 55) housing and senior living; such a focus would greatly reduce traffic, particularly at key times of the day.
B. The construction of one or two larger senior apartment units (similar to the one at the nearby Mountain Park) could help limit the number of homes and help maximize open space. (There is a growing need for such housing.)
C. Serious consideration should be given to a nine-hole golf course, one designed for retired persons who want a more relaxed, fun approach to the game.
D. The whole property would have the look of a well-planned park with trails, picnic areas, pickleball courts and relaxation/exercise areas — ones perhaps modeled after Asian counterparts.
E. The addition of a church might be considered as another way to help build the whole area into a senior community. Other activities, ones which avoid adding to the neighborhood weekday traffic, would be welcomed.
Yes, I get excited over the possibilities. I have roughed-out plans. Care for a look? Hopefully, your reactions will be tempered by your willingness to compromise.
Comments are welcome!
• Stirling (Buzz) Cooper is an Ahwatukee resident.