The Loop

Can one Orlando-area community save its golf course from being destroyed?

November 13, 2014

What would you do if the golf community where you lived suddenly announced plans to get rid of the golf course? You'd probably protest the decision, right?

That's what more than 1,000 residents of EastWood did on Wednesday night. The group of people, with most wearing red shirts as a sign of solidarity, crammed into the cafeteria of Avalon Middle School in Orlando, Fla., according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Here's a news clip from Orlando's NBC affiliate station:

EastWood is a community of about 2,000 homes in the Waterford Lakes area, but the owners of its golf course are trying to have it rezoned, according to the report. Developers want to turn those 182 acres into hundreds of new homes and thousands of square feet of commercial real estate.

The protests aren't all golf-related, of course. Residents fear changes would result in more traffic and crime while decreasing the value of their homes.

Jim Pratt, an attorney representing the land owners, cited "the declining, failing golf industry in America" as the main reason to rezone the course. Pratt left the meeting surprised by all the opposition. "It was an overwhelming response . . . and we'll take that back to the owner."

For this to happen, the County Commission would have to approve if the matter comes to a vote in 2015. That seems unlikely judging by commissioner Jennifer Thompson's response.

"When you do zoning, it's all about compatibility with the people who were there first," Thompson told the Sentinel. "I can't imagine they would convince me this is a good idea, but it's their legal right to go through the process."