Owner of former Virginia Beach golf course agrees to trim weeds, but ‘despite fence’ will remain – The Virginian-Pilot

VIRGINIA BEACH — A settlement agreement was reached this week between the owner of a former golf course and the City of Virginia Beach over how the property should be maintained.

But the terms of the deal anger a resident whose home backs onto the former Signature at West Neck golf course and has been singled out in the past for speaking out against the landlord.

“It’s pretty much a travesty,” said Tom Luckman, who lives in West Neck Villages. “The city, in my opinion, they overturned.”

The golf course, in the southern part of the city near Kellam High School, closed nearly three years ago and a corporation named WC Capital bought it in 2020. The company submitted a preliminary proposal to the city to redevelop it into a residential community.

WC Capital’s registered agent, Norfolk solicitor John McIntyre, has had previously declined to identify the owner of the business, except to say it was someone who lives in Florida. He could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Eight residential villages surround the course designed by Arnold Palmer. Many residents bought homes that overlooked the carefully maintained fairways and cart paths.

But the grounds of the golf course quickly became overgrown with tall grass when the course closed. Luckman and other residents who live in homes around him complained to the new owner and the city last year.

When they got no results, some residents took it upon themselves to mow the weeds crawling in their backyards.

Luckman and a few of his neighbors expressed particular concern and wrote letters to WC Capital. Then, a surprise appeared in their backyard.

WC Capital erected a strong, 8-foot-tall metal fence across the rear property line of three homes, including Luckman’s, last fall. The fence stops one meter from a resident who has not raised concerns, then starts again.

Luckman dubbed it a “despite fence” and tried to have it removed, but ultimately the city approved it. The fence is still standing just beyond Luckman’s backyard property line.

Last summer, Virginia Beach sued WC Capital for failing to maintain the golf course property. The lawsuit was due to go to trial this week, but the two sides reached an agreement beforehand.

The agreement requires WC Capital to develop only part of the property and allows the company to create a “vegetated buffer zone” between the residences and the fairways. It does not require the company to cut behind residences.

WC Capital must trim and maintain the vegetation on the flat parts of the old fairways, as well as certain areas along the public rights-of-way. The agreement does not prohibit the company from building a fence to “protect property,” according to the agreement.

Assistant City Attorney Christopher Boynton said this week the deal was reached after the company’s attorneys successfully argued that the city’s code on excessive weed growth does not apply. does not apply to portions of the former golf course which are used as an “active agricultural operation”.

WC Capital obtained a grower’s license in 2020 and harvested sod, according to Boynton. The company has also started a small logging operation in the center of the route.

“We felt like it was a resolution that helped maintain some of the property, especially those high-traffic areas,” Boynton said.

Anyone who trespasses on the course could face a Class 1 misdemeanor, and WC Capital will use security guards and electronic monitoring, according to a joint statement that accompanied the agreement.

The agreement also prohibits the city from trespassing to inspect for possible violations. Boynton said inspectors will observe from the public right-of-way.

“It’s not a total solution,” he said. “There are certain areas that are not visible to us.”

Luckman is less than thrilled with the outcome.

“It’s a shame it has come to this,” he said. “WC Capital won big.”

Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125, [email protected]

Denise W. Whigham