SAN ANTONIO - After months of heated debate, San Antonio city council members voted Thursday on the future of the Pecan Valley Golf Course.
Unable to turn a profit, the owners closed the historic course to play in January.
A unanimous vote by the council in favor of a zoning change allows the developer to move forward with his plans to cut the course in half and create a nine-hole course and housing for disabled veterans.
Following the vote, Dan Pedrotti Junior, President of Foresight Golf, LLC, said it was time to put the hard feelings aside and get down to the business of transforming Pecan Valley into a unique golf community geared towards disabled veterans and civilians.
"There will be golf there, it will be a different golf course," Pedrotti said. "There will be a tribute to what was there - to Pecan Valley, to Mr. Burke who started all this, to the 1968 PGA Championship and all the rest of it. There's an opportunity now to rededicate what was Pecan Valley to its future."
The 18-hole course will be reduced to nine-holes and will include a high-end, gated apartment community.
The zoning change locks Pedrotti into preserving more than half of the property as a golf course and prevents high density, multifamily development on that portion of the land.
Pedrotti had plenty of support from the military community, but ran up against some opposition from residents who feared the development could increase flooding in the area.
Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson supported residents in their efforts to fight the zoning change and protect the existing golf course. Adkisson remained skeptical the development would be the success Pedrotti believes it will be.
"If it is (successful), we will applaud you," Adkisson said. "We're long term players and today is just a small page in the history of Southeast San Antonio but it has huge ramifications if it's not done right."
Former San Antonio city council member Lynda Billa Burke lives along the golf course and supported the changes. She said she was looking forward to the redesigned course even it means destroying what her father-in-law built so many years ago.
"Am I sad about it? Yes, because Pecan Valley is great. But am I happy? Extremely. Happy because I think that we now have a platform to make the South side even better," Burke said.
Pedrotti agreed to make several changes to his original plans to reach a compromise with the residents including strict deed restrictions, reducing the footprint of the development and protecting some of the large old oak trees on the course.
He plans to hold several meetings with the residents to keep them informed as they move forward.
Pedrotti said he hopes to break ground on the project late this year or early in 2013.
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