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Pebble Creek Owner wants Brownfield designation to redevelop land


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https://tampabaytimes-fl.newsmemory.com/?publink=0af3467a7
 
Golf course eyes development
BY C.T. BOWEN

Times Staff Writer

NEW TAMPA — A golf course owner wants to turn green fairways into brownfields.

Ace Golf, owner of the Pebble Creek Golf Course just east of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, is seeking a brownfields designation from Hillsborough County as a precursor to cleaning contaminants from the land and selling it for residential development.

If granted, the designation means the property cleanup will be done under the jurisdiction of the county’s Environmental Protection Commission, rather than the state Department of Environmental Protection. The brownfield label also carries a tax credit for Ace Golf to help reduce the remediation cost.

Some residents in the more than 1,300-home Pebble Creek subdivision are objecting, fearing that calling the land environmentally damaged will stigmatize the neighborhood and hurt property values.

Others don’t like the potential end result: Up to 300 new single-family homes on the 150

9A


acres that have played host to birdies, eagles, divots and duffers for more than five decades.

“I’ve heard no compelling evidence that the contamination is widespread or imminent as an ecological (danger) to the homeowners, especially if the course remains a course,’’ said Frederick Pearce of Fairwood Court.

He and his wife, Lisa, bought their home seven years ago because of the course, and he called the brownfield application “a subterfuge’’ to allow the land to be rezoned more quickly.

“A brownfield designation next to our homes will decimate our property values,’’ agreed Juliana Karp, a 22-year resident of Norchester Circle, who said the area still hasn’t recovered fully from the 2008 housing crisis.

But a clean up is inevitable, and asking for the county’s blessing is not an attempt to sidestep the normal zoning process, said representatives for Ace Golf.

“The reality of this site is the golf course won’t be there forever,” said one the company’s attorneys, Travis Hearne. “Remediation will be required to reuse this property.”

The environmental request adds a few strokes to a nowfamiliar public debate across the region: The closure of community golf courses amid dwindling interest in the sport decades after developers used putting greens and sand traps as the prime amenity to sell home lots in new neighborhoods.

See Walden Lakes in Plant City, Quail Hollow near Wesley Chapel and the Links in Hudson as recent examples of shuttered courses in residential developments.

There also is the high profile debate over the proposed development of the former Tides Golf Club in unincorporated Seminole in Pinellas County and a prior brouhaha over development plans for the Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club, also in Seminole. Neither development plan has progressed.

Quoting National Golf Course Owners Association forecasts, Ace Golf president Bill Place said more than 800 courses will close nationally over the next 10 years.

“We’re trying to get ahead of this,” said Place, who purchased the Pebble Creek Golf Course in 2005.

Ace Golf owns three other courses in the area and bought Pebble Creek “not as a development site and never with any intention to build on the site. We are (course) operators,” said Place.

The club has 73 full members, only 20 of whom are residents of Pebble Creek, he said. The turnout on a recent sunny, 75-degree afternoon illustrated his point. Half of the two dozen parking spots reserved for members sat empty.

“That’s typical,’’ he said.

The course, he said, is operating at a break-even margin and he doesn’t anticipate it being financially viable over the next five years. It didn’t used to be this way. At its peak in the 1990s, the course had 300 members, Place said.

The Pebble Creek Golf Course dates to 1967, back when Bruce B. Downs Boulevard was a twolane road still known as 30th Street. In the ensuing years, luring northern retirees to a golfing lifestyle became a common business model for Florida’s residential developers.

But market oversaturation, younger people preferring other recreational outlets, and developers trying to divest themselves of ongoing course maintenance costs changed the golf landscape.

Man-made lagoons, bicycle and hiking trails, nature preserves and even farm-to-table community gardens in so-called agri-hoods have replaced golf courses as the touted amenities in 21st century subdivisions.

Course operators have more than video games and cycling trails with which to compete — they have each other. There are 20 golf courses in Tampa and 31 more within 20 miles, according to the website golflink.com. Pebble Creek’s location, less than 1.5 miles south of Pasco County, also meant it had to compete for golfers with courses there, including one of Place’s other holdings, Plantation Palms in Land O’ Lakes.

Business at Pebble Creek dropped, Place said, after he bought, refurbished and reopened Plantation Palms in 2016, two years after the previous owners had shut it down.

Place said Pebble Creek needs a new $500,000 irrigation system and it must replace the roof at the banquet hall at a cost of $90,000. This comes just two years after the owners put a new roof on the cart barn and installed new air conditioning and new carpeting and window treatments in the banquet facility.

The expenses have left owners of aging courses in a dilemma. Invest or sell?

When a developer came calling two years ago, Place listened. But the redevelopment plans landed in the rough when soil samples showed high levels of arsenic and dieldrin from insecticide applications, particularly on the greens and tee boxes.

The pitch for the brownfield destination is a chance for a mulligan to advance the redevelopment plans from 13th Floor Homes of south Florida.

About 40 residents attended a Nov. 30 community meeting with none of the speakers voicing support for the plans, attendees said. And the objections continued Dec. 2, during the first of two public hearings before Hillsborough County commissioners.

Pearce said the course should be nominated for historical designation. The state has recognized 53 courses as part of its Florida Historic Golf Trail including the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club, and the Babe Zaharias, Rocky Point and Rogers Park golf courses in Tampa.

Shane Billings of Cypress Shadow Avenue suggested the county consider buying the land through its environmental land conservation program.

The community push back didn’t go unnoticed by commissioners.

“I am monitoring the issue closely and will support the neighborhood’s interest,” said Commissioner Ken Hagan.

The commission vote on the brownfield application is scheduled for Wednesday after a second public hearing, but the county staff has recommended rejecting the designation because it does not carry the required economic benefits. Closing the course, banquet hall and restaurant would eliminate 36 jobs, while creating six new full-time positions, according to county documents.

Place said previously that the remediation work, including removing up to two feet of soil from the greens and tee boxes, would proceed regardless of the commission’s stance on the brownfield request.

“You can’t take away the fact,” Place said, “that this is contamination and something has to be done about it.”

Contact C.T. Bowen at ctbowen@tampabay.com or 813-435-7306. Follow @CTBowen2.


This was in the Tampa newspapers yesterday.
 
I may be looking for a new home.
 
 

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I had a course 2 miles from me which was very nice. Original owners sold it. New partners went in on it together and they didn't put any profits back into the course. Slowly went down hill. Finally they decided to sell it. They didn't get offered what they wanted. Then went to auction with a reserve. Didnt meet the reserve by 100k and they turned the offer down. One night they came back and sprayed all the greens with vegetation killer to piss off the housing community around the course and brought down the value of houses on the golf course. Then they cut everything into 1 acre plots and are selling it off with no zoning. So now you have nice golf community houses with small prefab houses thrown in. Some people are just plain vendictive ________. you know what I want to say!

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Yesterday, Ace Golf asked for “brownfield” designation so he could get financial relief for the cleanup needed to sell the property to housing developers. Below is the article from the paper...

https://tampabaytimes-fl.newsmemory.com/?publink=10458d35e


The next step to save the course is for “The Friends of Historic Pebble Creek” to file for historic designation. If they are successful, then the property must continue to be run as a golf course. Please note, that there have been several golf course companies that want to buy Pebble Creek and run it as a golf course. However, Ace Golf does not want another owner to compete with his other course, just 10 miles away.




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1 hour ago, fozcycle said:

Please note, that there have been several golf course companies that want to buy Pebble Creek and run it as a golf course. However, Ace Golf does not want another owner to compete with his other course, just 10 miles away.

That's just a dick move.

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2 hours ago, fozcycle said:

 Please note, that there have been several golf course companies that want to buy Pebble Creek and run it as a golf course. However, Ace Golf does not want another owner to compete with his other course, just 10 miles away.
 

There's the reason, right there!

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2 hours ago, fozcycle said:

Yesterday, Ace Golf asked for “brownfield” designation so he could get financial relief for the cleanup needed to sell the property to housing developers. Below is the article from the paper...

https://tampabaytimes-fl.newsmemory.com/?publink=10458d35e


The next step to save the course is for “The Friends of Historic Pebble Creek” to file for historic designation. If they are successful, then the property must continue to be run as a golf course. Please note, that there have been several golf course companies that want to buy Pebble Creek and run it as a golf course. However, Ace Golf does not want another owner to compete with his other course, just 10 miles away. Hope “The Friends of Historic Pebble Creek” win the battle.  




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And now it all becomes clear! The almighty dollar speaks again. Screw a bunch of people over, but still making sure he keeps getting his income from the other course. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/17/2020 at 6:02 PM, fozcycle said:

Yesterday, Ace Golf asked for “brownfield” designation so he could get financial relief for the cleanup needed to sell the property to housing developers. It’s a common issue related to evitonmental protection addressed in students papers as you can see here

https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/environmental-issues/


The next step to save the course is for “The Friends of Historic Pebble Creek” to file for historic designation. If they are successful, then the property must continue to be run as a golf course. Please note, that there have been several golf course companies that want to buy Pebble Creek and run it as a golf course. However, Ace Golf does not want another owner to compete with his other course, just 10 miles away.




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The planning of the course must be agreed with the environmental authorities because the golf course is a large project that involves the destruction of ecosystems or local biogeocenoses. It seems to me that your recommendations will help create a correct approach. We must learn from our mistakes

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Last week they were checking the bunkers for pesticides so I told them if they found any, they came in with the new sand they just installed last month.


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  • 2 months later...

Update, the owner swapped GM’s for all 3 courses and we now have a former Pebble Creek GM.   Scuttlebut has it he is getting ready to retire and will be closing the course when he retires.   We anticipate the owner filing for a zoning change.  The process takes about two to three months which gives the PC property owners time to communicate with their county commissioners regarding the request.  The Friends of Historic Pebble Creek was formed this year to keep it as a golf course.

Currently, the course is dry as a bone with no grass on most tees.  They are short several maintenance staff.....seems it’s easier to get unemployment money than go to work.  They hired 2 new employees but they never showed up for work.

As a result of the course conditions we have lost a bunch of weekly regulars.  

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Wedges: Cleveland RTX Zipcore(50*/54*/58*) w/True Temper Spinner Wedge steel shaft  

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19 minutes ago, fozcycle said:

Update, the owner swapped GM’s for all 3 courses and we now have a former Pebble Creek GM.   Scuttlebut has it he is getting ready to retire and will be closing the course when he retires.   We anticipate the owner filing for a zoning change.  The process takes about two to three months which gives the PC property owners time to communicate with their county commissioners regarding the request.  The Friends of Historic Pebble Creek was formed this year to keep it as a golf course.

Currently, the course is dry as a bone with no grass on most tees.  They are short several maintenance staff.....seems it’s easier to get unemployment money than go to work.  They hired 2 new employees but they never showed up for work.

As a result of the course conditions we have lost a bunch of weekly regulars.  

Hate to see things like this happen.

As far as the workers showing u that seems to be a huge problem throughout FL and the US.

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4 hours ago, Rickp said:

Hate to see things like this happen.

As far as the workers showing u that seems to be a huge problem throughout FL and the US.

Have the same problems with employees around me too. With the unemployment pay increase from COVID people are making more money staying home. Every store and fast food chain around me is currently short staffed and hiring.   

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On 12/15/2020 at 4:05 PM, fozcycle said:

The environmental request adds a few strokes to a now familiar public debate across the region: The closure of community golf courses amid dwindling interest in the sport decades after developers used putting greens and sand traps as the prime amenity to sell home lots in new neighborhoods.

I'd be surprised that any golf course communities are truly safe from such action/changes in land use.  We are looking to purchase in a Del Webb community that, at least for the foreseeable future, seems safe from such change.  Since the 4 courses are owned by the HOA, it would require a majority vote by the homeowners... don't see that happening in my lifetime. But I know of two golf course communities in WA in which the course was owned by the original developers/land owners and was bulldozed to make more homes.  Lipoma Firs was a really cool, 27 hole course.  Clearly there is more $$$ to be made in housing than golf 😕.

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30 minutes ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Have the same problems with employees around me too. With the unemployment pay increase from COVID people are making more money staying home. Every store and fast food chain around me is currently short staffed and hiring.   

Exactly!!

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13 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

I'd be surprised that any golf course communities are truly safe from such action/changes in land use.  We are looking to purchase in a Del Webb community that, at least for the foreseeable future, seems safe from such change.  Since the 4 courses are owned by the HOA, it would require a majority vote by the homeowners... don't see that happening in my lifetime. But I know of two golf course communities in WA in which the course was owned by the original developers/land owners and was bulldozed to make more homes.  Lipoma Firs was a really cool, 27 hole course.  Clearly there is more $$$ to be made in housing than golf 😕.

I believe that has happened in Myrtle Beach, Deer Track & Island Green come to mind.

I'm sure Big Stu and Grand Stranded remember them and a couple more.

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2 hours ago, Rickp said:

I believe that has happened in Myrtle Beach, Deer Track & Island Green come to mind.

I'm sure Big Stu and Grand Stranded remember them and a couple more.

Possum Trot,  one of the Wild Wings and Waterway Hills in MB are others.

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1 minute ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Possum Trot,  one of the Wild Wings and Waterway Hills in MB are others.

Yup!!  You got it.  I liked one of the Wild Wings but don’t remember which one.

shot one of my best rounds @ Waterway, even par for 18 with a nasty hangover. Long time ago.

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10 minutes ago, Rickp said:

Yup!!  You got it.  I liked one of the Wild Wings but don’t remember which one.

shot one of my best rounds @ Waterway, even par for 18 with a nasty hangover. Long time ago.

Having my clubs on the back of the chair lift going over the Intercoastal Waterway was stressful to saythe least. 

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  • 1 month later...

Demise of Pebble Creek GC.... rumours are that that the owner, Bill Place is going to shutter the club at the end of July.  No filings have been reported for zoning changes, so our guess is the course will be closed.  The best option for the Saturday game is to merge with Plantation Palms GC, just 10 miles away.  The winter drought is now over so we can expect rain on a regular basis.  The greens are much better, they have a driving range and the course is longer.  We will probably lose several players as their drive will be 15 minutes longer, but will gain about a dozen more that are already playing there.

I feel sorry for the homeowners on the course who bought knowing it was a golf community, but, alas, life goes on....

 

This will be the second course shuttered where I played.....Ugh!

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You would think with golf interest picking up the courses on the verge of closing would have some second thoughts and try to milk all they can out of the course for a while longer. Over 500,000 people started playing golf in 2020. There were 61 million more rounds played in 2020 than in 2019 which was a 14% increase.  Cha Ching.

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2 minutes ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

You would think with golf interest picking up the courses on the verge of closing would have some second thoughts and try to milk all they can out of the course for a while longer. Over 500,000 people started playing golf in 2020. There were 61 million more rounds played in 2020 than in 2019 which was a 14% increase.  Cha Ching.

You are right......Pebble Creek GC has been busy with all areas making money.  The owner is just trying to make some easy money, hoping to eventually get a zoning change and selling to a major developer for big bucks.  He can shutter the course, continue to pay taxes and hope for a better County Commission down the road. The current commission did not take kindly to his trying to get the brownfield designation last year.

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