Wellington OKs homes on former golf course

Article Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel

By Jan Engoren

Published March 30, 2017


The Wellington Village Council voted unanimously, 5-0, to approve the nine-lot Winding Trails residential project to be built on the former Wanderers Club executive golf course.

The approval follows months of discussions with the developer and residents, many of whom had concerns about traffic, safety, entrance and egress of large trucks in the area and the number of horse stalls to be built.

The nine equestrian-oriented residential lots of 2.3 to 4.45 acres each, to contain homes, barns and groom's quarters, will be situated on the former nine-hole golf course in the area of Aero Club Drive and Greenbriar Boulevard.

The project winds around the Lakefield South neighborhood, whose residents were divided about the proposal until subsequent meetings with developers who were able to sway many dissenters.

Many residents whose homes sit on the golf course were not happy that they would now be facing an equestrian community, with the associated noise and smells.

The village of Wellington recently approved the Winding Trails residential project to be built on the former Wanderers Club executive golf course.


Patricia Holloway, president of Ward Development, said, "We had to educate and inform the residents through community outreach, and once they fully understood the scope of the project, they were excited about it.

"They realized it is a better option than having more townhomes or single-family houses on that lot, and this plan allows for more open space," she said.

Residents were swayed in part by developers' promises to increase the turning radius for large trucks, develop contingencies so that trucks are not idling on Aero Club Drive waiting for gates to open, reduce the number of stalls from 12 to 10 per lot for a total of 90, and allow only four rental stalls per lot.

During school hours, deliveries by trucks 40 feet or longer will be prohibited.

The nine residences will be limited to two stories, with a barn below and living space above.

Robert Basehart, Wellington's planning, zoning and building director, said that at first the proposal was difficult for many residents to swallow.

"The developer made concessions in changes to the plans to make it as safe as you can make it," he noted.

"It's going to be a nice project and an asset to the community and to the equestrian world," he said, noting that the former golf course had been unused for the past eight years and earlier attempts at turning the course into a park had failed.

He expects initial housing will be available for the 2018 equestrian season.

Fully on board for the project, Basehart said, "I can't think of a better solution for the property."

Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig voted against the project the first time, as she didn't see support from the affected residents.

She changed her mind when residents came around in favor of the proposal, she said.

"By the second reading (and hearing) the developer had gained quite a bit of support," she said. "Much more than half of the Lakefield South residents were in support of the project, compared to those opposed."

Attorney Anthony Barbuto, who represented the Lakefield South Homeowners Association, said, "Undeniably, the residents' voices were heard, considered and respected.

"Democracy is alive and well in the city of Wellington, and the village should be commended for its considerate and professional handling of the controversy," he said.