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Neighbors fear rezoning fight after decades-old golf course closes in Seminole

Posted at 5:08 PM, Jun 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-29 20:27:26-04

SEMINOLE, Fla. — A decades-old golf course in Seminole is closing down and neighbors fear their backyard bliss could turn into a new development. 

They say the Tides Golf Club sits on nearly 100 acres of “Recreational open space” and is rare in Pinellas County. 

"This is irreplaceable,” said Ronald Ronz, who has looked out his back patio to the golf course for 35 years.

In a letter, club members received word the gold course was closing on Sunday, July 1. 

The letter says in part, “After enduring Hurricane Irma and the ensuing clean-up, the club has seen a continued decrease in activity. Due to a lack of support from the golfing community, the owners have made the decision to close operations. A gold course at this location is not a viable business.”

But, the letter doesn’t say what is going to replace it.

"We don’t know yet,” Ronz said.

A few years ago another developer applied to request the county rezone the property to build homes. They offered up 18 acres to offset the loss of open space, but Pinellas County eventually denied the application because it just wasn’t enough.

"We need to do everything we can to preserve our green space not continue to allow people to develop it,” said Ron Gerino, a neighbor whose backyard borders the property.

Ronz made shirts during the first fight that say "Save the Tides" and today he, “pulled it back out of the chest of drawers and put it on!” 

That’s because he and other neighbors believe the developers will try and request it be rezoned.

"It’s not there right to rezone it, it is their right to close it, I understand that,” Ronz said. “But it’s not their right to rezone it and ruin the neighborhood. 

Ronz and others have been asking neighbors to sign their petition and contact county commissioners.

We reached out to the manager of the Golf club about the course closing, but he told ABC Action News he had no comment.