BY KEVIN HOLSAPPLE
(See list of supporters of this commentary below)
As this year comes to a close, the golf course improvement effort continues to be unresolved, but hopefully Council will provide the guidance necessary to remedy this at their Dec. 13 meeting.
In an effort to provide concise guidance from a cross section of the community, members from golfing, hiking and open space have examined the project, discussed the various options and elements of the project and we would like to suggest the following path forward to Council.
- Phase I: Take Care of what you have.
Fund all of the deferred maintenance issues identified in Phase I of the project and get these started in 2023. Get all of these resolved now. Don’t piecemeal these out by only funding some and drag this process out any longer. The same advice is suggested for all county recreational amenities – first take care of what we have before adding more. These are what make our community special and why many of us enjoy living here. Make sure they are maintained properly first.
- Phase II: Keep it Simple
Either (A) move forward with the existing range and implement reasonable and adequate administrative controls to limit ball flight or (B) select Option E if you determine there is no solution other than extending the range.
Council, you had the right idea by asking for options to “realign holes 1-3” and in so doing “minimize impacts to trails and open space”. Unfortunately, you received only one option that claimed to meet that directive – Option A – and many in the community felt that it did not seek to “minimize” impacts to trails and open spaces. The golf community recognized the concerns other citizens had with Option A and worked with them to put forth Option E, which minimizes the footprint and tree/trail impacts as well as reduces Phase II costs that are better spent on Phase I. Other options spend too much on an elaborate driving range and realign much of the front 9 holes, impacting a significant portion of the newly installed irrigation system. This is exactly why your motion called for adjusting only holes 1–3, to reduce cost and minimize impacts on the front nine holes.
- Protect the Future
Golfers, trail and biking enthusiasts, and open space conservationists all want to protect the adjoining land around the golf course and ensure it remains undeveloped. We all encourage council to rezone the adjoining forested property from residential (PD-5) to Open Space (W-1), to retain its current character.
We hope the effort of diverse elements of the community to come together and provide some clear and concise guidance is helpful and suggest this approach might be employed on other controversial issues in front of Council. We can work together to understand one another and find common ground for compromise.
Los Alamos Golf Association
Pajarito Conservation Alliance