Advertisement
  1. News

The Tides Golf Club closes, raising a question: Will all that green space disappear?

Ed Methfessel is president of Save the Tides, a group that is mobilizing in anticipation of residential development at the now-closed Tides Golf Club in the Seminole area. The property is owned by a Tampa-based corporation, and the group says it wants to preserve green space. "This clearly comes down to the community versus the developer from across the bridge," Methfessel said. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published Jul. 11, 2018

SEMINOLE — More than four years after successfully waging a battle against a developer who would have converted 96 acres of open green space into a housing development, a group of residents once again are on guard — and preparing to mobilize for another fight.

Members of Save the Tides, a coalition of homeowners who live in the neighborhood surrounding the 18-hole Tides Golf Club at 11832 66th Ave. N, became alarmed when Tides management recently posted a notice that the club was closing at the end of June.

The posting blamed the closure on residual damage from Hurricane Irma that resulted in decreased golfing activity, noting that "a golf course at this location is not a viable business."

Ron Stephens, whose home abuts the course, disputes the claim and suspects a darker motive.

"This is about a developer coming in from another county, one who could care less about our open green space," Stephens said. "All they want to do is put money in their pocket, and they don't care how they do it."

Stephens cites a 2014 effort by a previous owner of the property to lobby the Pinellas County Commission for a land use change as cause for the group's concern. Arizona-based developer Taylor Morrison wanted to build 170 homes on the property bordering Boca Ciega Bay to the south and Boca Ciega Millennium Park to the west.

The developer dropped the proposal amid backlash from Save the Tides, whose members collected thousands of signatures for a petition and bombarded county staff with emails.

The group insisted the development would devastate wildlife, including bald eagles, roseate spoonbills and American wood storks, and run counter to the county's comprehensive plan to protect what little green space is left in Florida's most densely populated county.

Current owner TTGC LLC, a Tampa-based development company that paid $3.85 million for the property in 2016, has not approached county commissioners for a land use change. But Save the Tides members say they need to be prepared for a worst-case scenario, which they believe is inevitable.

"The last developer moved very quickly," Stephens said. "We think this one is trying to do the same thing."

County Commissioner Janet Long said the group's plans to mobilize may be premature.

"There has not been one ripple of inquiry in county government," she said. "Everyone who's involved in permitting and land use and zoning changes has been put on alert to notify commissioners if anything comes in. But, right now, it's much ado about nothing because nothing has happened."

Long added that while the county has a vested interest in protecting the environment, that interest must be weighed against the interests of property owners.

"Should anyone come in and want to get a land use change or develop a property, they do have a right to do that," she said.

Save the Tides president Ed Methfessel disagrees.

"The new owners knew how the land was zoned when they bought it," he said. "I'm not sympathetic to them at all."

He added: "This clearly comes down to the community versus the developer from across the bridge."

Methfessel, an avid golfer, said it's important for the public to know that Save the Tides is fighting for more than the golf course.

"People may think we're being selfish, that we just don't want to lose our view," he said. "But the reality is that if you lose it, you can't go backward. It will be destroyed for future generations."

Tides Golf Club manager Keith Bradshaw declined to elaborate on the closing but said the property owners likely will issue a statement. The owners did not return a call for comment.

For now, padlocked chains bar the club's two entrances. The parking lot is empty. A banner on the website reads, "Unfortunately, the club is closed."

But the Save the Tides engine is revving up.

"It was a loud battle cry a few years ago," Methfessel said. "It will be so again going forward."

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Visit tampabay.com for the latest updates.
    Charges in the accident are pending.
  2. Florida Supreme Court Justices Barbara Lagoa, left, and Robert Luck, right, were appointed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta by President Trump. Florida Supreme Court
    Ok losers, who needs access to our state politicians, anyway?
  3. Earlier today• Pasco
    The Dade City Monarch Butterfly Festival will be Oct. 12 in Hibiscus Park. AP
    News and notes from Pasco County
  4. Bubba's 33 recently broke ground on its first restaurant in Florida, which will open in Wesley Chapel in December. Pictured, left to right: Experience Florida's Sports Coast (Tourism) Director Adam Thomas, Bubba's 33 marketing director Crista Demers-Dean, Bubba's 33 managing partner Jeff Dean, Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore and North Tampa Bay Chamber CEO Hope Allen. Andy Taylor
    News and notes on local businesses
  5. Taylor Bland-Ball, 22, posted this photo and open letter to Judge Thomas Palermo to her Instagram account on September 10, the day after she lost custody of her 4-year-old son Noah McAdams. The boy's parents wanted to treat his leukemia with natural health care remedies instead of chemotherapy. [Instagram] ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Instagram
    The couple refused chemotherapy for their son, instead seeking alternative treatments including dietary plans, alkaline water and THC and CBD oil treatments
  6. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP
    Threatening to exacerbate islands’ problems, Humberto’s rains were falling on Abaco island.
  7. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates.
    His infant daughter suffered life-threatening injuries, officials said.
  8. In this Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, photo, Rod and Tonya Meldrum hold a portrait of their son Devin Meldrum, in Provo, Utah. He suffered from debilitating cluster headaches and fatally overdosed after taking a single fentanyl-laced counterfeit oxycodone pill purchased from a dark-web store run by Aaron Shamo, according to his family and authorities. Shamo was not charged in Meldrum’s death, and his lawyers have argued that and other alleged overdoses can’t be definitively linked to him. RICK BOWMER  |  AP
    A clean-cut, 29-year-old college dropout and Eagle Scout named Aaron Shamo made himself a millionaire by building a fentanyl trafficking empire with not much more than his computer and the help of a...
  9. This photo of Patti Baumgartner, a Montana grandmother who wanted to slow down speeding drivers, went viral. Noah Pesola
    The photo of her sitting on the side of a road went viral.
  10. Members of the fire rescue team Task Force 8, from Gainesville, Florida, help remove a body one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco Island, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Dorian, the most powerful hurricane in the northwestern Bahamas' recorded history, has killed at least 44 people in Bahamas as of Sunday, Sept. 8, according to the government. GONZALO GAUDENZI  |  AP
    Many in the northwestern Bahamas, known for its casinos, golf courses and mega yachts, worry they will be forced into deep poverty.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement