Mizner Trail Golf Course Still In Limbo

Posted by Brian Pearl on Thursday, September 24th, 2015 at 2:38pm.

Mizner Trail Golf Course back On The Market For Sale

Another year passed by and construction crews have yet to start work on the defunct Mizner Trail Golf Course. Close to Boca Raton, this 130-acre space has yet to see any new building or even landscaping. The fairways and putting greens are still an eyesore after Developers had the green light to move forward with their plans one year ago. The area remains untouched.

Neighborhood groups banded together to oppose the development. But they failed to appeal the final decision in February. The plan for new construction was set to move forward, but after ten years of overgrown brush residents are not holding their breath. Once a great attraction for home buyers in this desirable Boca Del Mar community, the golf course has been neglected for far too long.

The Community Commission granted developers the right to build, but construction has been halted by a string of legal conflicts. Instead of implementing the original plan for 252 new homes to be built, the property has been put on the market for sale.

The impending sale of the property, plus the individual lawsuits that have been brought to developers against new projects, have set back the desire to put landscapers to work on the land. County officials have stated that at least landscaping should be able to take place, considering the overgrown weeds and grass. This is a point of contention for the local code enforcement agency. Ramsey Bulkeley is the County Code Enforcement Director. He states that “We almost treat it as vacant property… It's kind of put in limbo."

The group that fought to build here was the Compson Mizner Trail Inc. By the time this article was posted, the company did not make any statements regarding the failure to build on the property.

Even though new construction was stopped, the property is still being advertised as a building site. Claiming it’s location ideal for those who want to be close to Boca Raton. The online ads also claim that the property is "a truly unique opportunity for a developer to capitalize on one of South Florida's most desirable communities."

The golf course at Mizner Trail was once a big point of interest for pro golfers, tourists as well as residents of Boca Del Mar. It is just south of Palmetto Park Road between Military Trail and Powerline Road.

The course closed in 2005. A decade long conflict over land use commenced shortly after. Between county officials, the golf course owner and residents, they simply could not agree on how to use the land.  There have been several developers that have proposed plans for the vacant parcel but it seems no one can come to an agreement.

The owner of the former course thought that there was too any local competitors, and expressed a desire to discontinue the golf course to pursue new construction that would fit in with the neighboring houses. But existing homeowners wanted their golf course back. Many bought their homes just because of the golf course and the views it had to offer. It also served as a noise buffer between homes and traffic.

Instead of leaving the property in disuse, the community stood down in their opposition and allowed building plans to move forward. Developers had planned for 115 zero-lot-line houses, 45 townhomes and 92 condominiums or apartments.

The local aesthetic would have been greatly improved since the area was becoming a nuisance to the existing neighborhood. The plan was to incorporate existing landscape features like lakes and mature native plants as a buffer, maintaining as much open space as possible to bring pleasing views to both prospective and long term homeowners.

Landscaping never took place here, and the neighborhood complaints to code enforcement are stacking up. In most cases, properties like the old golf course that touches the border of inhabited structures are required to maintain a 25-foot perimeter, trimming brush in that buffer zone to 7-inches at least. 7 inches is the maximum height allowed for the lawns of nearby homes.

But over the past decade wildflowers, weeds and grass has been allowed to grow to more than double the usual height of neighboring yards. "They have been doing a fairly decent job of maintaining what they do need to maintain," Bulkeley said. But the golf course owner is just doing the bare minimum of maintenance, making homeowners near the site irate.

Close to $43,000 in liens for code enforcement fines have been paid by the property owner. Past fines have accumulated, and the county reports this amount has been collected. Requirements for landscaping would only become more strict after developers hand in more detailed building proposals.

Right after county offices approved the development blueprint in June of 2014, the Boca Del Mar Improvement Association challenged the building plans. This put the new construction on hold. Instead of going forward with building plans, which would put the developer at risk, everything is paused as decisions are still up in the air. If development approval were to get overturned, the building crew may have to halt construction or even have to demolish the work that was already completed.

Landscaping standards would have to be met if the property is sold, but a new buyer is not lined up yet. County Commissioner Steven Abrams is still fielding complaints about the property. Abrams states that "It is something that is out of our control … It's just not going to get completely cleaned up until the construction begins."

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