Golf course supporters trying to sway 2 votes Columbia Council majority needed

December 17, 1992|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,Staff Writer

Leaders of a citizens group that has been lobbying the Columbia Council for approval of a proposed 18-hole golf course say they're targeting two council members they hope will switch their votes.

The Citizens for a Better Columbia thinks pressure can be increased on council members Karen Kuecker, who represents the Village of Owen Brown, and Fran Wishnick, from Oakland Mills, by lining up support among village board members in their respective communities.

"We don't see this as a closed issue. We've got between now and February when they set a budget to make our case. Our best friend in this debate is education," said Dana Pescosolido, a member of the Citizens for a Better Columbia, many of whom are golfers.

The group was formed in November, solely to lobby for the 18-hole course.

At the Dec. 10 council session, Ms. Kuecker and Ms. Wishnick voted against building an 18-hole golf course on nearly 200 acres of open land in the Running Brook neighborhood.

In the 5-4 vote against the proposal, the council chose to study 1993 budget proposals showing the fiscal effects of building a nine-hole course or an 18-hole course.

The council is due to get its first look at the 1993 budget proposal next week.

Ms. Kuecker said at last week's meeting that she could not support the 18-hole proposal because her village board opposes it.

Ms. Wishnick suggested at the meeting that the council consider a nine-hole course as a less-expensive compromise. A nine-hole course would cost an estimated $3.8 million as opposed to $5.5 million for the larger course.

Mr. Pescosolido, president of the Forsgate Condominium Association, a town house community that would border the first fairway if the course were built, said that some residents of Forsgate bought their homes with the impression that an 18-hole golf course would be built on open land nearby.

"I obviously believe the golf course will enhance the value of my own home and others in Forsgate," Mr. Pescosolido said. "But we believe it would also enhance the value of Columbia. And that's the point we plan to make" to the village boards.

He said the group plans to set up meetings with the Owen Brown and Oakland Mills village boards to push for construction of the 18-hole facility and to outline their case against building a nine-hole course.

Al Dunn, chairman of the Oakland Mills village board, said his board backs the 18-hole project and would be open to helping to sway Ms. Wishnick.

"Our board believes the 18-hole course would be a magnet attracting people and business to Columbia," Mr. Dunn said.

He said board members have had several discussions with Ms. Wishnick on the issue but were unsuccessful in convincing her to support the 18-hole proposal.

"She is not bound to vote the way we want her to vote, and we respect that," Mr. Dunn said.

Ms. Wishnick declined comment.

Wanda Hurt, vice chairwoman of the Owen Brown board, said the village panel would welcome a presentation by Mr. Pescosolido and his group.

She said a representative from the Wilde Lake village board argued against the 18-hole course before the the Owen Brown board Tuesday night.

"I personally don't see this as a closed issue yet," Ms. Hurt said.

Ms. Kuecker could not be reached for comment.

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