A major step taken Thursday afternoon in the quest to convert a popular golf course into an upscale housing development in northern Allen County.
We explain why the change is being pursued and why opponents may have one final shot at stopping the project.
A prime piece of real estate north of Leo has for years been home to the Cedar Creek Golf Course.
But that appears to be coming to an end.
Developer Roger Delagrange, who wants to construct 120 higher end homes there, on Thursday got what he was looking for from the Allen County Plan Commission.
The board unanimously approved re-zoning the land from agricultural to single family homes, and endorsed a subdivision plan.
Delagrange, who owns two other golf courses, says there is a need for more housing lots.
"25 years ago, if you would have told me where the golf business was headed, everybody would have laughed at you," Delagrange said.
He says since 9-11, families have steadily turned away from golf.
"Kids are so busy with other things today, I mean it’s year-round traveling, whether they’re in dance, choir, whatever they’re in…soccer, parents don’t have time to spend five hours to play a round of golf on Saturday," he said.
"We’ve been there a really long time, and so it was a really tough business decision, but sometimes when you get older, and are reaching retirement, you have to make those decisions," said Cheri Gilbert.
She and her husband are selling the golf course, which figures to result in its closing.
The villas and homes to be built on the land are expected to go for between $300,000 and $1-million.
Some of the current homeowners are miffed about the shakeup.
More than 600 signatures were gathered against the project, citing traffic, congestion and quality of life among the complaints.
"(We) paid a premium to get a quieter, rural way of living, to get away from developments and developing, that’s a huge concern," said opponent Gary Davis.
The plan commission’s action represents a big victory for proponents of the switch from golf to housing, but it’s not the final word.
The Allen County Commissioners will have that.
"If we can get two of the three to see our perspective, understand our community’s concerns, and actually give credence to the community’s concerns, I’d say we’ve got better than even odds," Davis said.
The commissioners are expected to take a vote within 90 days.