Glen Lakes Golf Course

If the Glen Lakes Golf Course could talk, would it say “I’m not developed yet!”?

When pondering the good, old Glen Lakes Golf Course, the words of a salty old character in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” keep popping to mind:

“I’m not dead yet!”

If the golf course could talk, it might be howling:

“I’m not developed yet!”

Though with no small debate, the sale of the Glen Lakes Golf Course was approved by Glendale City Council in December. Councilmen Bart Turner and Jamie Aldama (as well as several citizens) opposed, and two amendments were attached pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey style, but a 5-2 majority approved the $6.5 million sale to Towne Development.

So that’s a wrap on the sale, right?

Maybe not. The issue was back on the agenda for the Jan. 14 meeting.

Here is what the Dec. 10 agenda item looked like:

“Ordinance No. O19-91: An ordinance of the council of the city of Glendale, Maricopa County, Arizona, authorizing the sale of city-owned land on the northeast corner of 55th Avenue and Northern Avenue to Towne Development, Inc., and directing the city manager to execute all necessary documents for the sale and directing the city clerk to record a certified copy of the ordinance.”

Here is what the Jan. 14 agenda items looked like:

“Ordinance No. 020-05: An ordinance of the council of the city of Glendale, Maricopa County, Arizona, authorizing the sale of land by the city to Towne Development, Inc., on the northeast corner of 55th Avenue and Northern Avenue and directing the city manager to execute all necessary documents for the sale and directing the city clerk to record a certified copy of this ordinance.”

Even after talking to Kevin Phelps, Glendale’s city manager, about this, I’m still puzzled by the seeming “I’m not sold yet!” status.

Maybe this has to do with some legal fine print, as $6.5 million is quite a pile of cash. Phelps said the agreement on this week’s agenda is “98 to 99% identical” to the Dec. 10 one, with “a few minor tweaks.”

The Dec. 10 agreement was not signed, apparently.

The energetic Save Glen Lakes group will have two more opportunities to protest this week, first at the Tuesday night council meeting, then at the Planning Commission meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16. The Planning Commission is scheduled to consider rezoning the Glen Lakes Golf Course 42 acres from parks and open space to a residential category.

This is crucial, as the property cannot be developed in its current zoning category.

Phelps did not sound worried about this.

“Once we approve and they (Towne) sign, they can close at any time but no later than the April (30) date,” Phelps said.  “It can’t go to May 1. They can’t hold up (the deal) by saying, ‘We still don’t have all the zoning we need.’ 

“They will take that risk on.”

Phelps downplayed debate at the Dec. 10 meeting, during which several on the council wanted the idea of an 8-acre park surrounded the Towne homes to be in writing. “Council just wanted to have some clarifying language in the purchase agreement,” Phelps said. “We went ahead and worked with the developer.

“At the Jan 14, meeting, the development agreement will be coming back. The planning process for rezoning is a separate process. The purchase (agreement) requires a closing in April regardless of where we are in zoning,” he reiterated.

Ron Short of the Save Glen Lakes group insisted at the Dec. 10 council meeting the rezoning would require a major General Plan amendment. He followed up with a detailed letter, attaching relevant sections of the city’s General Plan and state statutes. 

Phelps said he gave serious consideration to Short’s oral presentation and written follow-up.

“I asked our planning administrator and city attorney to do a deeper dive, and they have communicated to council the way we are processing this is consistent with past practices,” Phelps said.

Though agreeing an amendment is needed, the city’s position is that it requires a far less cumbersome one: 

“The property will be processed as a minor General Plan amendment and will be accompanied by a zoning application,” said Lisa Collins, the city’s planning administrator.

It should be another interesting week for the down-but-not-out golf course.

Jane Bachmann of the Save Glen Lakes group was encouraged by last week’s neighborhood meeting, part of the rezoning process.

Normally, neighborhood meetings are formalities, attended by a handful, if that. Not so for the Glen Lakes meeting, with nearly 100 in attendance and shouting out their opinions.

“The overall sentiment from the crowd was they were fed up,” Bachmann said. 

She vowed the fight to save Glen Lakes is not over:

“The Planning Commission will listen to compelling testimony of residents and it may influence them.”