Golf Course Owners Respect Wellington's Nuisance Rules

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While Glenn Straub, the owner of Palm Beach Polo and Polo West, rejected the rules, some neighbors said the rules do not go far enough.

WELLINGTON – Proposed amendments to the Village Nuisance Ordinance, which would clarify property maintenance rules, sparked negative reactions Tuesday night from a large landowner and the support of some of its neighbors.

Glenn Straub, owner of the Palm Beach Polo Country Club and Polo West golf courses, said the clarifications do not take into account his current attempt to turn his properties into golf courses. The Links, originally from Scotland, generally have well-maintained fairways, surrounded by rugged high-grass terrain.

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If the changes are successful – they are tentatively approved unanimously and come back for a second vote on January 22 – code 30 of the Wellington Code would become "clearer" to better define how the vegetation of all Wellington properties must be maintained.

"One of the issues is golf courses and we have specifically included golf course provisions," said Bob Basehart, Director of Wellington Planning, Zoning and Building.

Under the proposed amendments, vegetation greater than 6 inches in height would be considered a nuisance for golf courses and undeveloped, developed, partially developed or vacant half-acre or smaller parcels.

PREVIOUS COVER: Wellington could clarify rules for harmful vegetation on golf courses and other properties

For larger undeveloped or vacant lots, the vegetation would be covered with a foot of height for the first 120 feet of the property line on all sides, with 18 inches allowed for the first 120 feet for properties located in out of Wellington's urban service areas and Little Ranches.

Large developed properties should maintain vegetation height at a maximum of 6 inches over the first 120 feet of the property line.

The rules of the golf course could escape Straub's bond plan, said the developer and his lawyer, Alexander Domb.

"It's a shame that you have not contacted a golf course owner to ask him maybe in advance … what impact could this have," Domb said.

PAST COVER: Wellington denies changes to Polo West golf course at Palm Beach

At the end of 2017, Straub's Palm Beach Polo Inc. and Polo West Inc. asked the village to change the permitted uses on the courses. The council rejected these requests in December 2017. After this refusal, Domb stated that Straub had turned to the links.

"I've spent $ 500,000 over the last five months to improve a one-of-a-kind course, and people are lining up," Straub said.

Three neighbors from Straub, however, thanked the council for taking action. Two neighbors at the Polo West golf course said the clarifications may not go far enough.

"Polo West is a shame at the moment, and the grass has grown higher and higher," said Glen Jergensen, a Polo West resident.

William McCue lives off the former North Course of Palm Beach Polo, which was decommissioned nearly two decades ago. Although he does not know if the grass stays long or if it is cut, he explained that mowing the property might embarrass some of his neighbors.

"I've personally noticed that when the grass is taller, I do not get anyone cutting in my garden to hang out," McCue said. "Nobody goes back with his trucks, his motorcycles or anything else."

kwebb@pbpost.com

@kristinawebb