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Calusa Residents Tee'd Off Over Developer's Plans For Golf Course

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- A property battle is heating up between residents in a South Florida neighborhood who live next to an unused golf course and a developer who wants to build on the land.

When homeowners purchased property in the Calusa development in west Miami-Dade back in the 70's, they were assured that due to a covenant, the golf course would remain in place for 99 years.

"Devastation," said one angry resident. "It is going to destroy our neighborhood. Imagine 1,100 homes?"

Calusa residents, who made a statement by dressing in green, turned out in droves to protest an attempt by developer Kendall Associates and G.L. Homes and ask the Miami-Dade County Planning Advisory Board not to allow as many as 1,100 homes to be built on the golf course property.

"A lot of us have homes on the golf course. We had them built for a reason," said Ish Padron. "Now they're gonna put homes behind there, it kind of depreciates the value of our homes."

The planning agency only recommends a 'yes' or 'no' to the county commission. The commission can kill the project, or accept it -- something residents are dead-set against.

"That! That's my morning," said another upset resident addressing the commission board about the traffic, while pointing to a photo of a line of cars along his tiny neighborhood street. "That's my morning."

The developer's attorney, though, laid out a case for the construction project.

"There is no longer any economically viable use for this golf course," said Stanley Price. "The present designation of parks and recreation is ill-suited for this property."

The course has been closed for two years.

The owner, hamstrung by the covenant, cannot develop unless 75 percent of owners approve, or if they can mount an administrative or court challenge.

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