Miami-Dade County commissioners voted Wednesday to redevelop an old golf course in Kendall — a move activists say comes with traffic and environmental concerns.
Commissioners voted 10-2 to change the zoning, which would allow for developers to move forward with a project to build 550 homes on the old Calusa golf course.
The 168-acre golf course, located off Killian Parkway and Southwest 127th Avenue, has been a source of heated debate since it closed over 10 years ago.
Some residents say this new proposal by GL Homes is something they can support to get rid of what they call an unsightly area that they claim reduces property value.
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"Let me tell you, an overgrown abandoned golf course is not pretty," said Kathleen Winters, who has lived near Calusa since the 1970's.
Many were at Wednesday's commission meeting opposing the project — including Zoo Miami's Ron Magill — citing traffic and environmental concerns regarding the wildlife that had come to live at the old golf course.
A 1967 covenant required the property to remain a golf course for 99 years unless 75% of abutting homeowners agreed to lift it. There are reports that those homeowners were paid to be in favor of the project.
"This was particularly difficult because basically what the developer did was weaponize one group of residents by paying them off, by buying them, by settling with them against another group of residents," said David Winker, an attorney who represents those who oppose the redevelopment.
The group that opposes the project says they believe they have a strong case for litigation and will see what their next best steps will be.
The president of GL Homes told NBC 6 they will move forward in a responsible way.