SEMINOLE, Fla. (FOX 13) - A group of Seminole residents who live in the Bardmoor housing community is putting up a fight against potential plans to get rid of its golf course, holding a protest meeting Wednesday at the same time as the developers held a community meeting to share details with neighbors.
Developers Wheelock and Gentry Land used giant boards and mini football fields to show the layout of potential plans to change the 150-acre golf course into more housing and mixed-use.
“We're giving more details of the plans because the plan is starting to take shape,” said Kyle Parks, a spokesperson for the developers.
Parks said about 70 people attended the meeting to check out the proposed plans for themselves while others skipped it altogether and attended a counter-meeting being held to show opposition.
“I was encouraged to me not to go because I was told the developers were giving a sell job. You weren't allowed to speak out against them,” said Janet King, a Bardmoor resident.
More than 100 people showed up to the opposition meeting. Several neighbors said they want to keep the green space as is by getting the county to vote against it, taking legal action or getting someone else to step in.
“We're following through on those leads to see if we can have someone buy the course,” said John Boyle, a Bayou Club resident who is part of the Save Bardmoor group.
Parks said the developers hope those against the potential plans will talk with them about what they don’t like and make suggestions to improve.
“For us, certainly you can make up your own mind about what you think, but we're hoping that they get all the facts as they make up their mind,” said Parks. He added that it was the second community meeting developers have held.
The developers took down suggestions and concerns from the community and plan to incorporate those into the final plan. Parks said neighborhood amenities like a pool, walking trails, and tennis courts have come up as priorities.
“I'd rather be over here finding out what's really going on rather than rabble-rousing over there because I'm already on that team,” said Patrick Dallmann, a Bardmoor area resident who attended the developer meeting even though he disagrees with the plans.
Some residents who walked through the displays and talked to Wheelock and Gentry Land representatives about the proposals said they like some of the ideas.
“If they're going to put nice views in, and I'm not going to be looking at somebody's bedroom from my window, I'm okay with that,” said June Marks, who has a condominium on the Bardmoor golf course and has lived in that community for 20 years.
The plans are not set in stone. The sale is contingent on Pinellas County approving the land use change.
In the meantime, developers plan to keep meeting with other homeowners and nearby businesses.
“I don't want it, but change is inevitable at some point and time,” said Dallmann. “So, we have to do the best we can to mitigate what's going to happen.”
The developers said they will take the feedback from Wednesday’s meeting and then use that to draft up a more final look to present to homeowners.
Since the land use change has not happened yet, the county is organizing a community meeting to walk homeowners through that process on March 26 at 7 p.m.