For nearly five years, owners of Baypointe Golf Course, 9399 Commodore Dr., have neglected the property, said Linda McDowell, founder of the Save Baypointe Golf Club.
“They’ve basically abandoned it,” she said in an interview with the Beacon. “Something needs to be done.”
Not only does this create an eyesore for the surrounding residential communities—Tamarac by the Gulf, Harbor Greens and Yacht Club Estates—but also safety concerns, she said.
She and other residents often call police regarding teen vandals and trespassers on the property, she added. The owners also don’t maintain the property, she said, and the county has had to step in several times to mow the grass and weeds.
Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said there are nearly $400,000 in liens on the property because of work done by the county due to lack of response from Baypointe’s owner.
The Pinellas County property appraiser’s website lists the owner as Obligation Solutions based in Weston, Florida. Daniel Wejc, a manager with the company, did not return calls to the Beacon and the phone number was later disconnected.
Nearby residents’ worst fears came true April 15 when a maintenance shed at the Baypointe property caught fire. Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue with help from Seminole Fire Rescue and the Largo Fire Department were called to the scene to put out the blaze.
This prompted McDowell to take action. She appealed to the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners at their April 23 meeting. She had spoken before the commissioners at a September meeting as well, and told them that “since that time the property has only deteriorated further.”
McDowell informed the commissioners about the “neglect and dangerous conditions” as well as the recent fire. She told them that because of the tall grass at the property, firefighters had difficulty quelling the blaze. Had the fire happened at night, she added, “it would have been a catastrophic event.”
She said, “With dry season coming, it won’t take much to start a grass fire. It’s critical that the county look at moving forward with legal action against the property owners. We have lived with the situation for four years too long.”
At the meeting, Burton said the matter should “be pursued by staff aggressively to get closure on the issue.” Because the property owner is “uncooperative,” he added, “that puts it in the attorney’s hands and the courts.”
Commissioner Janet Long said, “I don’t see that it’s a good faith effort on [the owner’s] part. Surely, there’s some legal remedy for that.”
Burton added, “We have no love lost here. They’re intentionally disregarding court orders, fines and everything else.”
The commissioners directed staff to look into the history of the property to determine the next step.
“I’d like us to be as aggressive as possible. I mean, enough already,” said Commissioner Pat Gerard.
A week following the meeting, Save Baypointe Golf Course posted to their Facebook page that there was “immediate intervention by Pinellas County to seek compliance by [the] owners.”
In their post, the group wrote, “The maintenance shed will be demolished and compound area cleared of debris. A fence may be put up around the perimeter of [the] maintenance area. Grass is scheduled for mowing and additional tree/debris removal to begin next Monday. The property owners have also been directed to board up and secure entry into [the] clubhouse or demolish [it]. We will continue our efforts to protect this community open space and defend continued use as neighborhood/public recreational green space.”