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Neighbors of Troubled Golf Course Want Permits Yanked

March 08, 2000

RANCHO PALOS VERDES — Charging that developers of a proposed golf course and surrounding housing development misrepresented their project, nearby residents Tuesday asked the City Council to revoke the project's land-use permits.

Neighbors living near the Ocean Trails site, which attracted notoriety last June when half of the 18th hole fell into the Pacific, are angry because they say the $100-million, 75-home development will block their views of the ocean.

They contend that the developer presented blueprints to city planners showing the views not blocked, but filed another set of plans in City Hall showing blocked vistas. The plans filed in City Hall, which were never formally presented to residents, became the official plans, residents charge.

Darryl J. Paul, the residents' attorney, said that if the City Council does not revoke the permits, the residents may file a lawsuit.

Carolynn Petru, who was the city planner on the project from 1991 until 1998, said she had not heard of any changes in the files. She said city officials typically check to make sure all proposed plans match each other. "This is the first I've heard of this," she said.

Bobby Heath, general manager of the nearly completed but not opened Ocean Trails golf course, dismissed the residents' charges.

"We are in compliance, and we have been in compliance since Day 1," he said. "We have not misled anyone."

The residents' complaint is only the latest in a series of controversies facing the 9-year-old project.

In November, developer Ken Zuckerman filed for protection under Chapter 11 of bankruptcy law after financing for the course fell apart in the wake of the 18th hole's plunge into the Pacific.

Heath said preliminary financing has since been worked out, and the development is proceeding.

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