The Lakes Golf Course in Ahwatukee has been causing residents headaches for quite some time, but now, the rest of the golf courses in Ahwatukee could be under threat.
At an Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee meeting on March 28, the committee discovered Ahwatukee Country Club, The Foothills Golf Club, The Lakes Golf Course and the Club West Golf Club are all zoned as residential areas, meaning the golf courses could be converted into more homes.
The problem stems from The Lakes Golf Course, which closed in May 2013, and was sold to The True Life Companies, which provides land to home builders. As some of the other golf courses have come up for sale, it could lead to development of homes on the land.
“Once you open up the door to development of one golf course, you now set a precedent for the other ones,” said Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio of Ahwatukee.
The thing preventing the development of homes on that land, DiCiccio said, are deed restrictions governing the way the land is used, however, that could be changed if people sign away the restrictions.
“Right now the only thing stopping (development) are those deed restrictions — that’s it,” DiCiccio said. “The deed restrictions keep it as open space golf course…Once you (develop The Lakes) then others will want to do Ahwatukee Country Club and the other one at risk is Club West.
“What I want the public to see is that I’m just trying to bring a level of caution out there, be careful on this because once you sign your rights away, you sign them away,” he added.
News of the way the land was zoned caught planning committee members off guard, said Scott Crouch, a member of the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee.
“It was almost an outrage,” he said. “It totally caught the committee by surprise…that such a thing could happen to the community and we now just have to make sure that we mobilize. It’s something that can just destroy the community.”
Crouch said he was worried the development of thousands of homes on the golf course land could bring thousands of people to Ahwatukee and take away large expanses of open space.
“I think it’s twofold,” Crouch said of the committee’s fears. “One is that yes we are losing golf courses but in conjunction, we’re losing the open space that a lot of people were attracted to in the village, and as a result of losing that space, now we’re going to have ‘X’ component of more housing and more traffic and more flooding and so now it’s become even more densely populated and the things that make the village very unique and special — busy open spaces that we enjoy today — we don’t want to see the golf courses go to developers of housing.”