Benton neighbors oppose rezoning of golf course for development

Benton neighbors oppose rezoning of golf course for development
Palmetto Bluffs master plan. (Source: Southern Lifestyle Development, LLC)
Palmetto Bluffs master plan. (Source: Southern Lifestyle Development, LLC)

BENTON, LA (KSLA) - Concerns over what may happen to the Palmetto Country Club and Golf Course in Benton have motivated some residents in the area to put up signs in their yards, pass around petitions and rally against the rezoning the land.

Last year, the country club closed its doors for good. The business started liquidating all of its assets and closed operations on December 31, 2014.

"The golf course is kind of woven into the fabric of the community," said David Rains, who doesn't want to see the golf course go away.

The club attempted to sell the property to someone who would maintain it as a golf course. After those failed attempts, the property was sold to a private investor who will likely turn it into a development.

Neighbors say they hope that by voicing their concerns, the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) and Police Jury will choose not to rezone. Neighbors hope then, the land will be sold to someone who wants to maintain the golf course.

"We've spoken with several people that are not even golfers that would be very disappointed if the golf course went away," said Rains.

Southern Lifestyle Development managing partner Robert Daigle out of Lafayette, confirmed to KSLA News 12, the company will buy the land.

Raigle says they want to build "Palmetto Bluffs," a planned community of homes with some neighborhood shops. But first, they need permission to rezone from the planning commission.

"Their opposition is based exclusively because the golf course is going away," said Daigle, who explained the decision to close the golf course was made by someone else and it's not coming back.

According to Daigle, their new subdivision would be very low density and he feels if another developer bought the land, the outcome would result in a more crowded type of subdivision.

Rains says neighbors have pooled their money together to hire a local appraiser to study how the properties around the golf course might be affected if the golf course is rezoned.

Southern Lifestyle Development representatives will be at the MPC meeting scheduled for March 2.

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