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January 23, 2009

Suit bars Flagler Beach from tackling abandoned golf course

Staff Writer

FLAGLER BEACH -- An abandoned golf course that anchors a subdivision on the south
end of the city will remain closed for now.

At a City Commission meeting Thursday night, Commissioner Jane Mealy dismissed a

request that city officials consider purchasing Ocean Palm Golf Course and turn it into a

Because the city is locked in a lawsuit with developer Vanasse Hangen and Brustlin
Inc.*[Ed; note: see info below] over the commission's decision not to approve the
Orlando-based company's proposal to build dozens of homes on the site, it cannot take up
any discussions about the golf course, Mealy said.

"When the lawsuit has been settled one way or another, someone can bring it up again,"
she said.

The move dashed the hopes of former Mayor Ed Kuhnlein -- who made the
recommendation -- and other residents who complain the green space has become an
eyesore since closing last fall.

"The loss has been very devastating to the neighborhood," Kuhnlein said. "We see it
going to pot."

Owner Stephen Cejner closed the course and put it up for sale after years of struggling

Residents became furious when Vanasse Hagen and Bruslin Inc. requested the city's
Planning and Architectural Review board change the land designation of the course from
recreational and high-density residential use to low-density residential so a proposed
development -- named Seaside at Flagler Beach -- could replace the golf course.

The planning board unanimously turned down the request and commissioners did the
same shortly afterward.

The developer filed a lawsuit challenging the commission's decision in December, City
Attorney Drew Smith said Thursday.

Kuhnlein urged the commission to conduct a study showing the feasibility for grants or a
bond issue to raise money to "get the golf course back on track."

"It's something in my heart that I believe is really needed," he said.

Not all residents supported Kuhnlein's idea.

Buying a golf course isn't a priority for the city at this time, resident Bob Chase said.

Residents who want to see the course return to life should pool their money together to
buy it, he said.

"Do not spend any money on the golf course," he said. "If everybody paid their money up
front, it would still be there."

*Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.

Engineering and Construction Services
101 Walnut Street
Watertown, MA 02471-9151

Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. provides planning, design, engineering, and consulting
services for infrastructure and development projects in the United States. Its services
include urban design, landscape architecture, land surveying, civil engineering,
transportation planning, transportation engineering and operations, structural
engineering, and environmental permitting and restoration. The company’s services
also include master planning, land use planning and analysis, cultural preservation
planning, waterfront development planning, cultural and historic survey, project
management, geographic information system, transit/rail planning, pavement
engineering and asset management, oil and haz...

[Ed note: Sorry links in Scribd don't work]

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