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Arroyo Seco Golf Course May Border Nature Park

City Council will discuss whether or not to extend Arroyo Seco Golf Course Driving Range on Wednesday.

The South Pasadena City Council will discuss the possible extension of the during tonight’s meeting.

According to tonight’s agenda packet, city staff, the Arroyo Seco Golf Course and Racquet Center Lease Subcommittee recommend the City Council approve the extension of the driving range to border the neighboring South Pasadena Nature Park.  The subcommittee was formed in September 2006 to evaluate the golf course’s pending lease.

The subcommittee believes the extension will attract more golfers and revenue to the golf course and make the driving range more competitive with nearby golf courses, such as Brookside Golf Club and Alhambra Golf Course.

Mayor Mike Ten said earlier this week that the decision comes down to a matter of balancing what would best help the city.

"We need to look at opportunities to increase revenue," he said. "If an upgraded and more successful golf course can lead to that, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't explore that."

But several South Pasadena residents are opposed to the expansion of the golf course driving range and plan to speak out about it.

While the 35-yard driving range extension includes land bordering the current Nature Park, South Pasadena resident Barbara Eisenstein believes the proposed changes will impact the park dramatically.

“This piece of land has sat for many years growing new trees and being a habitat. It has native trees on it now that have grown,” said Eisenstein, a member of the Friends of the South Pasadena Nature Park. “If they extend the driving range, they will have to grade the land, flatten it and I believe they’d be putting turf down. They said they will protect trees, but changes are not healthy for trees.”

Residents are also concerned about excess water and pesticide runoff into the Arroyo Seco due to the expansion. The use of heavy machinery on the driving range can also lead to an increase in air pollution.

Eisenstein believes the city did not keep the public informed of what their plans were with golf course.

“We learned fairly recently that the city is considering and negotiating an extension of the driving range of the South Pasadena golf course,” Eisenstein said. “I’m very involved in the nature park, and I should have been aware of this. I think the city did not do a good job of informing the public. They seem to involve people who are connected with the golf course.”

But golf course manager Keith Shannon said the public has been informed of the matters involving the course.

“This is something that everybody has known about,” Shannon said. “Pretty much everybody in South Pasadena has known about the golf course. The City Council was taking public comments about this for 6 months before it was even up for bid.”

City staff has noted the public has been kept aware of the item through its inclusion 0n the legally publicized agenda, reports on the city’s website and notice in the and Pasadena Star – News

Eisenstein believes the City Council should postpone the purposed expansion at tonight’s meeting.

“What I would like to see happen at the meeting is for this to be postponed for due process so that everyone can truly be made aware of this matter,” said Eisenstein. “It’s a nice piece of habitat and it would be a shame for the city to destroy this habitat. I’d like to see decision put off so it can be discussed more openly.”

The South Pasadena City Council is scheduled to discuss the driving range expansion at tonight's meeting, set to begin at 7:30 p.m. 

Kevin Mallett April 06, 2011 at 09:32 PM
Thanks, for the information. I did not evan know the city had a nature park or plans for an expansion of the Golf range. Kevin Mallett South Pasadena 30 years resident
Ron Rosen April 07, 2011 at 12:09 AM
“We learned fairly recently that the city is considering and negotiating an extension of the driving range of the South Pasadena golf course,” Eisenstein said. “I’m very involved in the nature park, and I should have been aware of this. I think the city did not do a good job of informing the public. They seem to involve people who are connected with the golf course.” I have no position on this issue, but I will say that informing the people that should be informed about any subject is the city's biggest problem. There are many issues that I'm aware of where the city has acted like it's not necessary to tell the people involved or the public in general. Whether it's because they city does not want opposition or because of institutional policy, it needs to change.
Jones Foyer April 07, 2011 at 03:08 PM
It is a very small piece of relatively natural landscape. I don't think the golf course is running at capacity now, from what I've seen- I don't think the possibility of a small amount of increased income is worth destroying the nature area; while it is small, there are wildlife that call it home. I've seen coyotes, raccoons and of course hawks of all sorts in the area. Additionally, golf courses are heavy water users, and the increase in grass will use more water from our supply. It isn't worth it.
Barbara Eisenstein, Contributor May 06, 2011 at 12:46 AM
Although the change in management for the golf course has been an ongoing process that has been open to public comment, the extension of the driving range was not being discussed. In fact, it was explicitly dismissed by a 5-0 city council vote in 2009. Furthermore, $150,000 in funding is available to the city for extending the nature park. The city council, also on a 5-0 vote accepted a proposal by North East Trees to use this money for extending trails, removing weeds, and planting natives (I do not believe that garbage cans, benches, etc. were part of the proposal). Please note that NET is not providing the money, they submitted a proposal to do the work with the grant funds available to the city. The city accepted their proposal, although work was not to begin until the old golf course lease expires on June 30. This about-face regarding the extension of the nature park erodes the city's credibility. When they say the natural land will be "preserved in perpetuity" and then in less than 3 years they vote to use it for a golf course, one has to wonder why anyone should believe that any of their resolutions are serious?
Scott Lohman May 13, 2011 at 11:02 PM
It seems there is a great deal of information here that is incorrect. The water used for the course comes 100% from the flood control channel or well that is on the property. The course avoids the use of city water to greatest extent possible. The use of this water was set up in a 1948 agreement between the county of Los Angeles and the City of South Pasadena. The agreement was renewed in the early 70's. For those wishing to get a copy I would be happy to provide it. The extension of the range does not put additional water requirements on the City. All that is needed id a 30 yard extension of the existing water system. The golf course was built on what used to be dump site back in 1955. It drains extremely well. I would suggest that there would be little runoff provided the water is applied in the correct amounts. The problem with the extension is that it will add little additional revenue. If the rent statements are read correctly the revenues from 2007,2008 are 360K and 328K respectively. Even if those amounts are increased by 15%, the resulting rent increase to the City is 8K per year on the high side. That's about a 20 year payback. Not a solid investment for a 10 year RFP. I would just raise the fence. The number of golfers who can actually hit the ball over the fence are far fewer than one is led to believe. Scott Lohman

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