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THOUSAND OAKS | East Ventura County Focus

2nd Redesign for Golf Range Considered

March 13, 1997|MIGUEL BUSTILLO

Acknowledging that there are no easy solutions to the eyesore, the Thousand Oaks City Council has agreed to consider yet another redesign of the driving range at Los Robles Greens.

After spending almost $700,000 to redesign the driving range at the public golf course to settle a lawsuit with a neighboring property owner, council members were deluged with calls from angry residents.

The reason: The ugly 100-foot poles city workers installed to support nets that prevent flying golf balls from pelting an adjacent office building are ugly and mar Thousand Oaks' ridgeline views south of the Ventura Freeway.

"I don't think anyone is happy with the way the range looks," Mayor Judy Lazar said.

Work on the driving range is complete, but city officials said it will not open until next month at the earliest so that newly planted grass has an opportunity to grow.

Councilman Andy Fox proposed Tuesday that Thousand Oaks reopen the driving range as is, despite the complaints of visual pollution, and use some of the money it generates to redesign the course again when the city remodels the entire Los Robles Greens course.

Council members had already approved plans to redesign and rehabilitate the aging course, which city officials say is worn due to overuse. It is one of the most popular courses in Southern California, with more than 100,000 visitors a year.

"There's other ways that the golf course can be redesigned," Fox said. "If a private operator were trying to come in with a facility like this, I don't think we would approve it."

Council members voted 4 to 1 Tuesday to pursue Fox's proposal. Councilwoman Elois Zeanah dissented, arguing that there were ways for the city to deal with the visual impact without redesigning the entire range, such as lowering the height of the poles or using skinnier poles.

"Once again, we have made a costly mistake," Zeanah said. "I would like to look at alternatives to mitigate the visual impact."

Lazar supported Fox's plan, but said that after looking at the poles and the range firsthand, she is not optimistic about the options.

"Frankly, I don't have a lot of hope for a new location to the driving range," Lazar said. "I'm very reluctant."

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