Neighbors teed off about possible plans to demolish longtime Valley golf course

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- The days could be numbered for a longtime West Valley golf course.  Possible plans are in the works for the course to be demolished to build homes. But many folks are fighting that idea.

The Villa de Paz golf course near 107th avenue and Camelback has been around for nearly 40 years. The 18-hole facility was built in the early 1970s, and was remodeled in the fall of 2002.

"This golf course has been around forever," says Craig McGee, who has been golfing at Villa de Paz for 25 years. "It's a fun golf course, and the people that work here are the best."

The course is known as one of the less-expensive courses in the Valley. "They could easily raise the price at least $10 an round," says McGee. "What I personally think is that the owners of the golf course are trying to price it so they can justify losing money to sell the place.

The owner of the course, Bridge Investment Group, is said to be struggling, and reportedly had a buyer lined up to tear out the course and replace it with homes.

But there's a zoning stipulation in place that says the property must remain a  golf course. A request has been made that the stipulation be lifted.

But nearby residents and other golfers who don't want to lose the course have formed  a group called Villa de Paz United, and they're fighting to save it.

Many neighbors worry about what a housing development could bring, "The people who live here didn't move here with the idea that they'd put houses on our golf course," says area resident Steve Brown. "People are worried their view is going to be messed up, and there are going to be more people than they need. It's going to be a lot more kids. They're going to have to have more schools."

The potential buyer has since backed out of the deal  Stil, neighbors worry that nothing prevents that existing owner from re-filing.  

Tuesday evening, Phoenix City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela and Arizona State Senator Steve Gallardo hosted a neighborhood meeting to discuss strategy for stopping the developer's plan to turn the golf course into residential housing.