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County Schedules Meetings on South Bay Golf Course Proposal

October 01, 2003|Jean Merl | Times Staff Writer

Opening another chapter in long-stalled efforts to build a public golf course on a former landfill site on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, county officials this week released a draft environmental impact report and set community meetings on the controversial project.

The document assessing the proposed South Coast County Golf Course Project is available for public review at Rolling Hills Estates City Hall and at several nearby libraries, including Peninsula Center, Malaga Cove and Miraleste, Torrance Civic Center, Walteria and Lomita.

It can also be viewed at the county department's Web site,, under the public information link.

Supporting data for the report is available at two county offices. They are the Department of Parks and Recreation, 433 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, 90020, and Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, 1955 Workman Mill Road, Whittier.

The county's three public comment sessions are: 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Los Verdes Golf Course in neighboring Rancho Palos Verdes; 2 p.m. Oct. 30 at South Coast Botanic Gardens, across Crenshaw Boulevard from the site of the proposed golf course; and at 10 a.m. Nov. 1 at the Hilton Hotel in Torrance.

After other golf course proposals fell through for the 173-acre county-owned site, first suggested as a golf site in 1985, longtime peninsula resident Rob Katherman helped form Meritage Rolling Hills Golf to design, build and operate a public course. County officials see the proposal as a way to ease a shortage of affordable golf courses while earning revenue for cash-strapped public coffers.

A group of residents known as CARES, however, has been battling the project, claiming it would be unsafe because the former landfill accepted some hazardous materials. The group contends that toxic substances would be disturbed by the construction and the constant watering golf courses require and would endanger nearby homes and schools.

In announcing the release of the report -- more than a year later than anticipated -- county officials cited four significant expected impacts, including increased traffic. Other effects would include temporary construction-induced air pollution, noise pollution and the interim loss of an equestrian center, to be relocated to make room for the golf course.

Before the release of the report, course opponents said the document would not adequately address issues of toxics and possible seepage from the site. Developer Katherman has said he was confident the course could be built and maintained safely.

In addition to the public meetings, residents can offer their comments in writing to Larry Hensley, chief of planning for the county parks department. Written comments must be received at the department offices by 5 p.m. Dec. 4.

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