While it may not be a golf course anymore, at least it will be theirs

Hudson residents who bought homes adjacent to the Links Golf Club years ago may not be able to have the view they always wanted or the chance to play a round on the course anymore, but they will control what they do see.

On Tuesday, the Pasco County Commission approved land-use changes that will allow owner Matt Lowman to give part of the golf course land to two homeowners associations representing residents next door. They would also allow construction of up to 218 homes with 70-foot-wide lots on another portion of the property.

The deal was years in the making and came with enthusiastic support from the residents who live in the Estates and Reserve of Beacon Woods. They have formed various work groups in recent months to clean up portions of the 25 acres they would obtain of the old golf course that have overgrown since the it was closed.

During a vote more than a year ago, 87% of the residents in the Estates voted in favor of the community gaining control of the land.

“Our community has been trying to do this for five years,” said Jack Brummett, president of the homeowners group. “We have skin in this game. We have countless hours of volunteer labor from our people to prepare the golf course for mowing.”

He thanked the Lowman family for offering the property to the residents and said, “We look forward to using this to enhance the value of our properties as well.”

Joseph Sears, another resident who supported the plan, also thanked the Lowmans and said he appreciated their “generous land gift.”

He said the Links “by golf course standards was marginal, but it was ours.”

Sears said residents “spent hours teaching children and grandchildren how to play” on the course. “While we saw support for golf waning, we had hoped it would always be there,” he said.

While there had been little response from another homeowners organization, Fairway Oaks, Karen Crowe of that organization’s board did tell commissioners on Tuesday that after talking with the county attorney’s office, she was hopeful there could soon be a vote by her group.

“It has taken us a very long time to get through our paperwork,” she said, saying she hoped that would finally bring a resolution to the issue for her community as well. Fairway Oaks has been offered a 20-acre parcel.

The land-use language approved by commissioners allows the homeowners associations to use the property for a specific list of purposes which could include farming of the pine trees planted there after the course closed or development of a neighborhood park with trails or play areas, or other passive uses. Other residents told commissioners they were happy to have the pine trees as a buffer to road noise and also because the trees had brought more birds and animals into the community.

Commissioner Kathryn Starkey said she was happy to see the resolution. In her community in Gulf Harbors, the golf course closed years ago and the county ended up establishing a taxing district. That means residents there pay a tax for the development and maintenance of the park areas there.

That caused hard feelings among residents, but Starkey said it was a necessary option because the golf course was owned by a business and not by the residents.

Commissioner Jack Mariano, acting chairman for the meeting, said that he was also happy to see the resolution for the Links Golf Club because when it originally closed, there were a number of “scary” options.

“It’s been a long haul,” he said. “I’m glad we are to this point.”

Commissioners approved the land-use change 3-0. Commission chairperson Ron Oakley and vice chairperson Gary Bradford were absent due to illness.