North Springs Improvement District sued over Heron Bay Golf Course land use


Theron Piccininni

Curious course. There is lots of talk about the Heron Bay Golf Course being temporarily closed off for construction. New plans for the course have taken place.

Vincent Ciullo, Writer

Since the official closure of the Heron Bay Golf Course in 2019, many residents of the community have expressed negative thoughts towards plans to build a commercial plaza on the existing grounds.

During the fall of 2021, the North Springs Improvement District (NSID) purchased the golf course from ClubLink, a Canadian company which owns and operates golf courses, for $32 million. They proposed keeping 150 acres of the 220 acres for water preservation.

As many residents of Heron Bay originally moved to the community because of the golf course, many are disappointed in the closure and construction which is due to happen on the land. Citizens Against Golf Course Redevelopment, Inc., (CAGCRI) is a Parkland group that is made up of concerned Parkland and Coral Springs residents. It was formed solely to promote the legal rights of owners in Heron Bay. Their goal is to stop commercial development on the golf course.

“We are looking for more people to join our group. People who are passionate about preventing government organizations and officials from abusing their power and failing to represent their constituents,” co-founder and president of CAGCRI Robert Tankoos said.

After the completion of the golf course in 1997, a deed restriction was implemented with it, prohibiting construction on the land for 30 years. NSID continued with the project, despite the regulation. CAGCRI filed a lawsuit against NSID on Nov. 5, 2021 in hopes of enforcing the existing deed restriction on the golf course.

“We bought our homes knowing that nothing could be built on the golf course for 30 years. We will do everything in our power to enforce the restrictive covenant,” co-founder and director of CAGCRI Neil Bass said.

Instead of just purchasing the 150 acres for preservation, NSID purchased the entire 220 acres after requesting a legal opinion that the purchase would wipe out the deed restriction and make commercial development possible. NSID sold the remaining 70 acres to a development company. In September, Emporium was chosen to undertake the project.

On January 2nd, the NSID board changed a few aspects to the proposals of the commercial development at their meeting. The changes also included a memorial for the 17 victims of the tragedy at MSD. The site for the memorial will be near the clubhouse, on the Coral Springs-Parkland border. This will require a separate parking lot to be built on the former land, removing some acres from the project.

Last January, NSID considered using eminent domain to gain control of the 150 acres they planned to use for water management. The board of supervisors authorized it, but it is still unknown why their staff did not carry out the decision.

Only time will tell what the outcome of this situation will be.