Ahwatukee Neighbors Don't See The Green In Redeveloping Closed Golf Course

Published: Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 4:21pm
Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 8:52pm
(Photo by Mariana Dale - KJZZ)
The Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Club closed in 2013.

Ahwatukee residents who don’t want to see the defunct Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Club become a housing development will host a town hall meeting Thursday night.

Save The Lakes will host the event at 7 p.m. at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center, 5001 E. Cheyenne Dr.

Developer True Life Companies bought the property last year and has pitched a plan for what it calls “Ahwatukee Farms.”

The project proposes 300 single-family homes, a community farm, a Montessori school, cafe and walking paths.

“We started with the concept of creating a community hub that would be larger than just our development,” said Aidan Barry, a True Life Companies Senior Vice President.

But some residents do not want the area to become a “hub,” and say it doesn’t fit the neighborhood retirees moved into years ago.

“When you put in 300 homes, what are you going to get? 600 cars?” asked Linda Swain. “Ahwatukee is already overcrowded with traffic. We don’t need any more.”

Swain is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the closing of the golf course. She said the community risks losing a floodplain if the open space is replaced by houses.

The current development guidelines, called a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, restrict any re-development like what True Life Companies has proposed.

To change this, True Life Companies needs 51 percent of the area’s 5,200 residents to sign a consent that would allow it to build the houses.

“We knew there was concern in the community, that is why we focused so hard in our efforts for coming up with we believe a progressive project that will benefit the community in the long run,” Barry said.

True Life writes on its website it will restrict development to three dwellings per acre, single-family homes, limited commercial use and maintain 30 percent of the area as open space.

Ben Holt does not support the development. He bought his home next to the 12th tee box on the golf course eight years ago when it was green. He called the course an asset to the community.

“All of us who live in this area bought because it was a senior community, and that’s what we expected it to remain,” Holt said. 

KJZZ reporter Stina Sieg contributed to this story.

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