City of Palm Coast contemplating use of eminent domain for public golf course

November 7th City Council meeting will consider using eminent domain to obtain Rayonier Timberland p

Grand Club - Matanzas Course 18th holeOctober 31, 2006 – The Friends of Golf Steering Committee, a local action group to promote availability of public golf in Palm Coast and Flagler County reports, in an email, that during the November 7th City Council meeting, a resolution will be introduced to authorize the City Attorney to start eminent domain proceedings on property owned by Rayonier Timberland. The land is located near US Rt 1 and Palm Coast Pkwy, in the west end of the city. When approached earlier by the City, Rayonier indicated an unwillingness to sell.

Update – The City Council voted 5:0 at their November 7th meeting move forward with the acquisition of the Rayonier property citing the need do secure the land for well water access as the expanding city’s need for water continues to grow.

Several local courses have been or will be taken private:

Ocean Hammock – Centex Destination Properties recently purchased the Ocean Hammock course from Lowe and announced that they were going to convert the course from semi-private to private. Recent news that the property is being sold to The Ginn Company is not likely to change the private status. <Click for Ginn news story>

Pine Lakes, Matanzas, and Cypress – All three courses were purchased a few years ago by Landmar and renamed The Grand Club. Landmar commenced to renovate the three, first with Cypress, which reopened in fall 2005, then Pine Lakes (renamed The Pine Course), scheduled to reopen this December. Work will begin on Matanzas this fall with a reopening in fall 2007. At that time, Landmar and Hampton Golf (the golf course management company) have committed to take The Grand Club private.

Palm Harbor – Purchased by Centex a few months back, this course may end up being part of The Ginn Company purchase of the Palm Coast Resort from Centex Destination Properties. If so, it too will likely be converted into a private course.

The Friends of Golf Steering Committee has actively promoted building public golf courses. They have worked closely with both the City of Palm Coast and Flagler County. At this time, Palm Coast seems to be more prepared to step up to the plate than Flagler County.

Toby Tobin

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