Deer Ridge prompts code review

Photo by Tony Kukulich

Since the golf course closed in September 2019, the Deer Ridge Golf Club has been boarded up, and bright orange barriers attempt to discourage people from trespassing on the property owned by SunCoast Golf Inc.

Brentwood leaders have teed off with plans to evaluate city regulations regarding closed business buildings.

The move is in response to visual and safety concerns that popped up following Deer Ridge Golf Club’s September closure.

“What I would like to address is strengthening a code or codes to help us address the state of a building when a business closes its doors,” said Councilmember Karen Rarey, who requested the action that was subsequently approved by council.

City officials noted that any forthcoming changes will apply to businesses citywide, not just to the golf club that spurred the action.

“This is for the whole of Brentwood,” said Mayor Bob Taylor. “This is not just for Deer Ridge or Shadow Lakes or the Garin area. We need to make sure we put together an iron-clad discussion … If we are going to do it, the mayor is requesting we do it right. We make it equitable throughout the entire community.”

Rarey said the golf club exhibits several aesthetic and potential safety issues that warrant a larger, citywide review.

Potential problems include ugly, bright-orange entrance barriers placed around the property, possibly inhibiting emergency personnel access and infringing upon the pleasant neighborhood appearance; pieces of natural, mismatched wood used to secure the club’s pro shop building; and warning signs — “no trespassing,” “property closed” and “dangerous conditions” — that are not affixed flush to a building or window in violation of standards.

In a letter sent to the council, Roberto Brutocao, a representative of Deer Ridge Golf Club, wrote in part “(Deer Ridge Golf Club) does not have funds to fence off the entire property at this time. However, it implemented a number of prudent measures to address public safety and help minimize blight, as well as to help secure the property from vandalism, vagrancy, and assorted criminal activity and other considerations. In particular, DRG installed visible barriers across key entry points. Signs warning of danger and reminding the public that the property is private and there should be no trespassing were also installed, although a number have been damaged or defaced.”

Rarey noted that she’d like to see regulations amended to ensure that any wood exterior protection attached as a safety measure to any building be paint-matched to the building or that the city explore requiring other coverings.

Additionally, she said the current warning signs must be affixed to a building or window, and the orange barriers should have gone through a formal design review prior to placement.

She pointed out that the barriers are not aesthetically pleasing nor do they create a functional relationship with the surrounding development or enhance the city’s appearance — all of which is required.

“With fire access now blocked to the golf course by the orange barricades, they not only present a fire and safety hazard, but they also add blight to the neighborhood,” she said.

Fellow city councilmember, Johnny Rodriguez, mentioned issues that exist beyond the course.

“There have been people on the other side of the community as well who feel there are areas in that part of the community that the city hasn’t enforced for many years,” he said.

Deer Ridge residents, many of whom pushed for change, applaud the council’s action.

“This property (Deer Ridge Golf Club) is intimately intertwined with our community,” said resident Rod Flohr. “As such, great care should be taken not to allow this abandoned property to become a blight on our neighborhood.”

No timetable has been set for city staff’s return to the council with recommendations.

To view a city staff report on the request, see page 285 at https://bit.ly/2uEezTa.

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