Blackhawk residents pack council meeting to ask Pflugerville to buy golf course

On Tuesday night at the regular Pflugerville city council meeting, chambers were packed with concerned residents donning green shirts and special name tags. Comments were restricted from the normal three to two minutes. The city secretary ran out of citizen forms for the public comment period.

"This is an incredible showing tonight, this room hasn't been this full in years," Councilman Doug Weiss said.

All of this action was initiated because the owner of Blackhawk Golf Course is putting the course up for sale, with the potential for it to be converted into something more impactful to the area, such as a residential development.

Nearby residents found out about the sale in April and mobilized a community action committee soon after to ask the city purchase the golf course.

Donna McKay, the chairwoman of the action committee, said more than 100 residents gathered at the last homeowners association meeting on the topic.

"People are up in arms," McKay said. "We are thinking through legal actions."

At Tuesday night's council meeting, more than 80 signed up to support the city's purchase of the golf course with more slated to speak on the matter.

McKay said she believed should the city make a reasonable offer, the current owner would be willing to sell to the city.

To help the process along, McKay said the action committee secured a donation from a golf management company to help the city evaluate the financial status of the course and the improvements that would be needed to operate it.

In 2007 citizens gathered at a council meeting to ask the council to take actions to prevent the course from being changed into something in the future. As a result, the council rezoned the golf course for agricultural use. Under this zoning, the course could still have a certain ranch style homes built on the land.

"Purchasing this piece of property will be one of the few city investments that will provide a return on your city investment," McKay said.

Citizens speaking at the meeting worried that a changing owner for the golf course and a changing use of the land could devalue the surrounding residential properties.

One speaker in the public comment period said since the announcement of a possible sale of the course, there has been a rise in listings of nearby homes and a drop in prices, per the Austin MLS, a listing service of Austin homes.

Another area resident, Barbara Masi, said when she purchased her home in the neighborhood in 1997, she was sold based on the nearby course, even showing a flyer from 2002 that advertised the opportunity to live near a golf course.

A 2002 sales flyer advertises Blackhawk as "Pflugerville's premier golf course community."[/caption]

Masi also said she worried about potential flooding should the golf course be purchased by a housing development that would build additional homes nearby.

The action committee is asking for the purchase of the course to be placed on the agenda at the next council meeting, to take place June 27.

Mayor Victor Gonzales indicated that putting the purchase of the course on the council's agenda is likely for a coming meeting.

Councilman Mike Heath said it would probably be after June 27 to allow city staff to gather data on a purchase.


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