By Agrippina Fadel
As the fate of the Woodlands golf course hangs in the balance, tensions rise between the community and 13th Floor Homes.
The city commission will decide the Woodlands golf course’s future on Wednesday, where they will vote on the Land Use Amendment, zoning map, and agreement between the city and the Woodlands Club Holdings. This follows a workshop discussion on the development on Monday.
The developer requests a land use change designation for two 18-hole golf courses at the Woodlands Country Club from “recreational” to “residential” to build 335 homes.
In November 2021, after the city denied the developer’s request for a ten-month extension to finish preparing the site plan, 13th Floor Homes sued the city over its handling of the project. The company’s lawyers insisted that the land use hearing must be held as a quasi-judicial, not a legislative hearing, as the city proposed.
Quasi-judicial hearing is evidence-based, more structured, and less biased than a legislative hearing, 13th Floor Homes’ lawyers argued in their court filings. Last summer, Tamarac lost at the Fourth District Court of Appeal, which found that 13th Floor’s hearing must be held as quasi-judicial.
The developer returned to the negotiation table with many suggestions to appease the community that has been largely unsupportive of the plan to build new homes.
At Monday’s workshop, Attorney Scott Backman of Dunay, Miskel and Backman, who represents the developer, said the company proposes to develop 160 acres of the 275 acres of the golf course to build 335 single-family units — lower density than the adjacent homes.
He added 13th Floor is preserving a minimum of 165 acres of open space in the community through a recorded Declaration of Restrictive Covenant to the benefit of the city and Woodlands community. That means the developer cannot come back with a plan to build more homes. “This has been a big concern over the last six years, so if this is what is approved, that’s how many houses will be built and no more,” Backman said.
Backman added that the plan for the new and improved Woodlands also includes an 8,000 sq. ft. clubhouse, two tennis courts, two paddle ball courts, a playground, a fitness center, a swimming pool, and a café. The developer wants to build sidewalks and add a recreational trail going through the community.
They also propose adding a gate at the main entrance, upgrading the landscaping and signage, adding 60 guest parking spots, and contributing $150,000 to fund recommended improvements to interior roadways. 13th Floor also plans to help fund the construction of additional lanes and dedicated turn lanes on the roads around the community to help with the traffic.
One of the additional proffers made by the developer is a $1 million contribution to the improvements of the proposed Shaker Village Community Center. “I don’t know all the specifics and details of that, but we will be making that contribution,” Backman said. Shaker Village is where Vice Mayor Marlon Bolton resides.
The residents voiced their concerns about the dust and dirt from the development, so the company also promised to contribute $178,400 or $200 per home to help with cleaning and maintaining existing homes and vehicles during the construction.
Both the developer and the Save the Woodlands nonprofit, created to stop the development in the community, have been reaching out to the residents for support during the meeting so it is fair to assume the discussion will be heated.
The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Tamarac City Hall located at 7525 NW 88th Ave.
- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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