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Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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City to decide on more code enforcement authority over course

PLANT CITY – City commissioners will vote Monday on a law that would require mowing of virtually all of a shuttered Walden Lake golf course.

Commissioners last week voted to schedule a public hearing and vote on the proposal to toughen the city’s public nuisance law. The commissioners will entertain public comments on the law during their 7:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall, 302 W. Reynolds St.

Among other provisions, property owners would be required to keep grass and underbrush no taller than 10 inches within 200 feet of any building, park or street. There are a few exceptions, such as for agriculture.

The 200-foot requirement would, in effect, force mowing of all but the widest parts of The Hills golf course in Walden Lake because it is surrounded by homes and roads.

The city now regulates the height of grass and underbrush within 100 feet of the nearest yard.

Assistant City Manager Bill McDaniel has said the owners of the course, Visions Golf LLC, have cooperated in meeting city codes by mowing and taking down dead trees. But the law governing public nuisances needs to be stronger — and not just for Walden Lake, he said.

The proposal also would tighten regulations not necessarily related to Walden Lake, including those regarding fences around swimming pools and garbage on private property.

Visions Golf Managing Partner Steve Mercer has said his company will comply with the new regulations if they are approved.

Visions Golf closed The Hills course nearly a year ago, although a sister course, The Lakes, remains open. Visions Golf has signed a contract to sell to Coastal Companies, which plans to develop about 131 acres for housing and an assisted living facility. The deal is contingent on the city approving rezoning of the land for development.

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