Article Courtesy of The Tampa Bay
Published March 17, 2017
DADE CITY — The mulligan requested by the owner of Quail Hollow Golf and Country
Club proved to be successful.
As golf's popularity wanes, here's the new look of one Tampa Bay golf course:
Last week, the
county's Development Review Committee authorized conversion
of the 18-hole course into a residential community of up to
389 single-family homes despite objections from neighbors.
The successful pitch came two months after attorney Barbara
Wilhite asked for a delay during a January hearing when DRC
members expressed doubts about compatibility of a new, dense
development with an existing rural-flavored neighborhood.
The course, owned by Andre Carollo's Pasco Office Park LLC,
is at 6225 Old Pasco Road, a mile north of Wesley Chapel
Boulevard. Among the concessions to neighbors, Carollo
eliminated proposed town homes, increased the buffering
distance from his project to existing homes, bolstered
planned drainage improvements, and agreed to a binding
conceptual plan to eliminate future alterations. Forty-nine
percent of the 175-acre course will be left as open space
for drainage, a linear trail and buffer space.
"We're quite proud of what we've done,'' Wilhite told the
DRC which consists of top county administrators plus
representatives of the Pasco Economic Development council
and the Pasco School District.
The Quail Hollow Golf Country Club was shuttered for four
years before owners made extensive renovations and reopened in 2011. The
course is now targeted for 389 homes.
Still, more than a dozen homeowners in adjoining neighborhoods told the DRC they
feared the development would lower their property values and increase flooding,
traffic and congestion.
"You're jamming a lot bodies and a lot of stuff in a small area,'' said Jack
Diamond who lives on Golf Course Loop.
The course opened in 1965, a decade before the county adopted its zoning laws
and before the surrounding Quail Hollow Estates neighborhood developed. The land
is not zoned as a golf course, but rather for residential use that would have
allowed up to 283 homes. The DRC agreed to the rezoning request to allow more
homes on smaller lots and to include space for an office building and daycare
center. The Pasco County Commission will have the final say after another public
hearing at a future date.
It's not the first time the golf course had been targeted for development. More
than a dozen years ago, the course owners converted the driving range into a
high-density 116-home neighborhood called Fairways of Quail Hollow.
A 2006 plan for 660 homes and town homes never advanced, and a year later the
course shut down. Carollo, whose father had been involved in the early stages of
Quail Hollow's development, reopened in 2011 after extensive renovations to the
course and clubhouse. However, Wilhite said in January the course is not
Its demise is part of a decade-long trended toward downsizing in the golf
industry. The Plantation Palms Golf Club in Land O'Lakes reopened in 2016 after
a two-year closure, but developers are targeting the abandoned Hidden Creek golf
course outside Zephyrhills for 300 homes. In west Pasco the closed golf courses
at Timber Oaks and Magnolia Valley are being redeveloped as large-scale drainage
projects and neighbors in Gulf Harbors are buying their closed course for a
preserve and park.
Some of the residents in Quail Hollow Estates advocated for the course to remain
as open space, but that is not within the county's purview, said Chief Assistant
County Attorney David Goldstein.
"DRC does not have jurisdiction to force this land to stay a golf course,''
Goldstein told the audience.
If county commissioners also approve the rezoning, the new neighborhood's first
homes likely will be available in early 2019, Wilhite said.