By Jill Fox
After details became public, local residents expressed their anger and concern over the three proposed plans to develop the Heron Bay Golf Course.
According to the agreement, 150 hectares will be used for rainwater retention, including huge rain gutters to protect the city from flooding. The other 70 hectares of the property are used for commercial development.
Although it was not on the agenda on Monday evening, dozens of residents voiced their opinions during the public comments of the city commission’s meeting. Some were for – but mostly against – the project. However, the first step in the decision-making process lies with a previously elected selection committee, not with the dais members.
“I don’t want the Mall of America next to my house, and neither do these people,” said Neil Vogel, president of the Heron Bay Community Association. He sits on the selection committee with representatives from Parkland, Coral Springs, the Heron Bay Homeowners Association, and the North Springs Improvement District.
Residents took turns talking about their pride in the community and gesturing at the city seal on the wall while asking the commission to keep the property green and free of trade.
Robert T. quoted Parkland’s mission statement: “… to provide high quality services while protecting the community’s unique character and natural environment …”. He argued, “The establishment of 70 hectares of commercial development property on the Heron Bay Golf Course is not in keeping with this mission statement.”
The fate of the former 223 acre Heron Bay Golf Club will be decided by a vote on Wednesday, September 15, when the selection committee selects one of the three developers.
Purchased in 2011 for $ 3 million by ClubLink, a Canadian company that owns several other clubs in South Florida, they closed the golf course in 2019. On March 3, NSID signed a contract to purchase the Heron Bay Golf Course and buildings for $ 32 million.
Neil Vogel, President of the Heron Bay Community Association, speaks during public commentary at the session on Monday.
Ronnie S. said, “I promise you that if you develop this project, parkland will be destroyed – it will never be the same.”
To abrupt applause, Vogel said he was so proud of the local residents who told the commission exactly where the Heron Bay families stood on the issue. “We will not allow any of these three development systems to ever see the light of day.”
Since August 27th, the selection committee has been reviewing proposals, which include shopping malls, restaurants, fountains and even botanical gardens that could potentially take the commercial part of the project built on the land. The developer with the highest score takes a seat at the negotiating table.
Neil B. thinks it’s crazy to go with any of these three suggestions. “I can’t believe we need a mega mall here in our beautiful Heron Bay community that surrounds homes,” he said.
One by one, residents called the decisions delusional and even referred to promises commissioners made during the campaign.
Heron Bay Resident and Commissioner Simeon Brier spoke of his concerns about the golf course views and the safety and traffic it would cause. “I am against the three proposals in their current form,” he said.
Mayor Rich Walker asked residents to be patient. He said NSID had promised to keep the property 70 percent green and that was a huge win. “These conceptual designs are just that, conceptually – there is nothing for us to review, approve, or disapprove,” said Walker.
EU Commissioner Jordan Isrow emphasized: “It is simply not realistic to believe that someone will pay $ 30 million to keep a green park grass.”
Parkland Bay resident John F. had a similar view. “I think this is a phenomenal option considering that if Lennar or another builder got their hands on 225 acres, we could be talking about 1,000 homes and commercial properties.”
Vice Mayor Bob Mayersohn encouraged local residents to attend the NSID meeting on Wednesday. “My recommendation for you is to go to the NSID and give your opinion there,” he said. “I don’t know what the results will be, but I can tell you have come to the right place.”
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Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and two children.