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Proposals for 5 Golf Courses Move Ahead


The Moorpark City Council on Wednesday approved detailed studies of three public golf courses that would be built within three miles of each other during the next decade.

In a separate action, the county Parks and Harbor Commission forwarded to the Board of Supervisors a proposal to build two 18-hole golf courses on county land at Happy Camp Canyon Regional Park, just north of Moorpark.

The commission made no recommendation on whether the county should take the next step in an approval process--authorization of an environmental study.

A 1992 county study showed a pent-up demand for at least seven more public golf courses countywide, according to county parks official Robert Amore. The two courses at Happy Camp could net up to $250,000 a year to be used partly for park improvements, he said.

But Amore said he was not sure if the Moorpark area can absorb all five of the proposed golf courses.

"It remains to be seen whether all five will be built," he said. "If the timing is right, maybe they could all be built. Certainly if all five come on line on the same day that could pose some problems."

Moorpark officials are also concerned that five new golf courses could be too many. But the City Council told two developers Wednesday evening that they could go forward with studies of projects including three golf courses.

One study will analyze the environmental effects of two 18-hole golf courses planned by the Bollinger Development Corp. on 400 acres between Grimes Canyon Road and Walnut Canyon Road.

The golf courses are part of a plan to build 216 luxury homes ranging in price from $800,000 to $1 million on the west side of town, company President Paul Bollinger said.

As an inducement, Bollinger is offering the city one of the golf courses, which he estimates could net Moorpark as much as $1 million a year.

"(Moorpark) could do exactly what the county is trying to do in Happy Camp--earn a lot of money," he said.

As part of another project review, the Moorpark council also approved the study of the city costs and benefits from a 3,221-house development by the Irvine-based Messenger Investment Corp.

Messenger plans to build the other 18-hole golf course as another centerpiece of a luxury home subdivision northeast of town. Upon council approval of the Messenger project, Moorpark would annex the land.

Worried about the number of proposed courses, city officials tried to force Messenger to prove that its golf course would be profitable, company Vice President Gary Austin said. But the city backed down after the company objected.

"The county has already done a study showing a demand for golf courses," Austin said. "It's a business decision anyway, and we're willing to take the risk that it will be profitable."

As it stands, there are seven golf courses in eastern Ventura County, three public. There are no golf courses in Moorpark.

"It's always crowded (on the public courses)," said Jim Honer, manager of a golf supply store in Simi Valley. "I don't think it matters how many you build. There's always demand for more. You'll get people driving in from the San Fernando Valley, (elsewhere in) Los Angeles County and even Ojai, just to get a chance to tee up on uncrowded links."

Proposed golf courses 1. Bollinger: two 18-hole courses (400 acres) 2. Happy Camper: two 18-hole courses (700 acres) 3. Messenger: one 18-hole course (200 acres)

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