Golf course closure has residents upset

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CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - Your home sits alongside a lush green golf course. So what happens when the course suddenly closes? Some Suncoast residents are finding out the hard way and many of them aren't happy about it.

The greens are no longer green, the clubhouse has been clubbed, tee times have expired.  Today it sits more like a golfing ghost town. "Now it looks like a meadow you might graze cows on."

After opening just a few years earlier, in 2008 the 160 acre Pinemoor East golf course in Rotonda West closed.  Since then it has continued to deteriorate, including the 60 acres of ponds. 

One of those ponds butts right up to resident Gerry Stein's property. "The pond belongs to the golf course and the owners of the course. They ought to be maintaining it."

Some of Gerry's neighbors are upset it has also caused their property values to deteriorate. Some want the current owners Rotonda Golf Partners to maintain it just like any other property in a deed restricted community.

"A mess. You have a jungle." Local realtor Deb Bean-Guinto with Sanderling Real Estate says they have an argument. The closure of courses is rare but has happened elsewhere like Foxfire and Forest Lakes in Sarasota. "It does impact the value of the home because it is not being maintained. One of the draws to that community was golfing." Saying there is plenty of competition in the area for those who want a smoother fairway. "There is between 10 and 15 golf courses around here."

Also probably one of the reasons it wasn't successful. Add that with the fact it was only 9 holes and many of the lots in the area still sit undeveloped. While many are upset some like Gerry don't necessarily mind those who frequent his back yard these days. "A little bit of wildlife that is about all."

Others want something done. The owners have reportedly offered to sell the property to the Rotonda West Association for $50,000. The home owners group has talked about the possibility. Not everyone thinks even that's a good idea. "I am not convinced that is totally the answer to everyone's prayers," says Stein.

Some residents say during the wildfire season the unkempt land has even become a safety hazard.