By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Hundreds of residents packed a town hall meeting in the clubhouse of Warren Valley Golf Course Monday to oppose the proposed sale of the county-owned facility.
The town hall hosted by County Commissioner Diane Webb (D-Livonia) and Mayor Daniel Paletko gave the public the opportunity to give their opinions.
“We wanted to give the residents a say in the possible golf course sale and to hear what the county is proposing,” Webb said.
A $1.8 million proposal came from Hillcrest Country Club, which was created by Delta Management President Jim George and real estate agent Kassem Sam Beydoun.
Under the proposal, the golf course and banquet center would be transformed into a gated community with 100 to 200 houses.
The Wayne County team said the course and banquet center has been losing money for years while residents said it is still a popular recreation source. A request for proposal was put out by Wayne County in August 2016 and a response was received earlier this year
Golf course employees argued at the town hall meeting that the golf course is “packed,” while Rogue Rescue representatives said if the course was removed their more than 30 years of work would be undone.
Webb and Paletko are opposed to the sale and plan to build houses on the land for a variety of reasons.
“We have plenty of housing in Wayne County, but this is the only golf course in Dearborn Heights,” Webb said. “It also serves as a retention basin and would remove a lot of green space if houses were built.”
Webb said the habitat, environment, families, quality of life and tradition would be impacted if the golf course was transformed into additional housing.
“There are people who pay for those houses because they are near the golf course,” Webb said. “They also put in money to renovate after purchasing houses that have been in their family for decades.”
The Golfview Manor Neighborhood Association is the oldest in the county, Webb said.
She also said Warren Valley always has been an affordable course for all families to play.
She said the county should look at the possibility to have the golf course bought by golf lovers to preserve and improve the property as is.
“It’s more than a golf course, it is part of people’s lives,” Webb said. “Residents just passed another park millage. They are for our parks and have been for more than 20 years by approving special taxes.”
Plateko cited the impact a new subdivision would have on flooding and sanitation, the homeowner association, golf course history, construction and wildlife in the area.
“The golf course is a park area and jewel,” he said. “It’s not just for Wayne County, it’s for everyone and we all have ownership of it.”
Residents booed and jeered as the proposed plan — which is being looked at by the commission — was presented during the meeting.
“The administration’s proposal to sell Warren Valley was presented to the commission last week and our staff is currently doing its analysis of the item,” County Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak (D-Dearborn) said. “The feedback at yesterday’s meeting was very helpful and will be given full consideration going forward. Commissioners haven’t seen the actual proposal yet.”
A vote will take place when the information is reviewed by all 15 commissioners before the sale proposal can move forward.
Warren Valley Golf Course, 26116 W. Warren, was designed by Scottish golf architect Donald Ross in 1922 and features two 18-hole courses.
It also includes a clubhouse with a pro shop, the Ross Room Bar & Grille and a full-banquet center for hosting events.
“Mayor Paletko and I were elected to represent the residents of Dearborn Heights and we feel it is important to give them the opportunity to be heard as it relates to this proposal,” Webb said. “It is my hope that they will take advantage of this event so that we may know how the majority of them feel so we can represent appropriately.
“Generations of families have come to Warren Valley to experience and enjoy the beauty and the challenges that these two courses have to offer. Combined with the gorgeous banquet facility, Warren Valley is truly is a gem,”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)