In a hearing that lasted literally until the next day, City Commissioners voted unanimously to appove a plan that calls for changing zoning to allow Woodmont Country Club owner Mark Schmidt to develop 150 single-family homes, and 30,000-square-feet of commercial space on the Pines golf course that closed more than a year ago. What was once a former pristine golf course, has turned into brown grass and weeds. Vice President of The Pines at Woodmont III gives his take on the events of Monday night’s hearing.
By Dick Brown:
Unbelievable. What could they possibly of been thinking? Looked to me like 99 percent of the people spoke against the plan, but yet the commission voted unanimously to go ahead. The homeowners in Tamarac just don’t seem to matter. 90-95 percent of The Pines at Woodmont III are against building. Woodmont Country Club owner Mark Schmidt has failed both in running the golf courses and club. His veracity is questionable and he’s never done anything he promised. He failed at running 36-holes of golf but the commission believes he can run 27, really?
The developer’s attorney said it would be mandatory to join the club when buying a new home. He said the money would be paid by the association. I asked what happens when they change the board and vote not to pay. Maybe I shouldn’t have said what I did as I was leaving, but told them all they would see what I thought of their decision at the next election. Of course that’s a long way off.
Our Vice Mayor spoke about a covenant for the next 99 years in keeping 27 holes of golf. Just why would we ever believe him? When he was asked about the covenant which exists now, his answer was, “That hasn’t been settled yet.” But he did go on and on about the proposed new covenant.
Traffic was also a concern, especially with what the city did to 82nd Street between University and 80th avenue. This little stretch of road is about four blocks long. So now, because they allowed Renaissance Charter School to open, it created additional traffic on that street. What did they do to alleviate it? They converted a four-lane street to a two-lane and added a bike lane in each direction. I haven’t seen a bike on it yet. Now they are by okaying a development with the entranceway off of 82nd Street, just Imagine what that’s going to do.
Was the will of the people served last night, or the will of the developer? The design of the proposed new 27 holes was also talked about. The flaws in the design as well as the safety hazards, fell on deaf ears.
Only one person spoke about the new Charter School, grades 6 through 12 that just opened in the Publix Shopping Center on Pine Island Road between 81st Street and Southgate. But they did talk about developing another commercial tract on Southgate and Pine Island. Our Mayer took umbrage when Neil Karman, co-president for the Woodmont Property Owners Association, pointed out that the commission didn’t seem interested in the safety of the students. That by changing this to commercial, it was creating more places for students to hang out. Their answer was that they would hire private security to police it. Then what happens when they are done building? Who pays for the private security?
Now, we have to regroup, hire attorneys and take our case to the Broward County Commission. We know that the Covenant that exists is real: stating that the land must be used for golf courses and golf club only.
What we don’t know is why the Mayor and her Commission are not trying to enforce it. Nor do we know why our Vice Mayor took the stand that he did this morning. When he questioned the developer’s attorney Scott Backman, based on the answers he received and didn’t receive, we thought he was clearly against building.
We’re really looking forward to the next election, so we can show the current commission that by not supporting the majority, it could backfire on them. Then when the Vice Mayor looks for support from the Pines people he’ll get opposition.
Dick Brown is a Resident and Vice President of The Pines at Woodmont III and knows every resident in his development in the Woodmont Country Club where the residents refer to him as the Mayor.