Residents working against development of closed Florida golf course that could become housing

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of residents in the North Brevard County neighborhoods around the defunct Sherwood Golf Course are working to stop the development of 800 homes on the property.

Many of those who live in the neighborhoods off Carpenter Road near Mims have said traffic, environmental and home value concerns have motivated them to stop the disused golf course from being rezoned for multifamily residential.

Plans currently show 800 new homes, including apartments and townhomes, would be built at the site, creating further concerns over property values based on the proximity to the golf course.

Sherwood Golf Course opened in the 1960s and was facing bankruptcy five decades later before ultimately falling into complete disuse in recent years. The roughly 100-acre course at 4335 London Town Road, in an unincorporated area west of Titusville, was last sold for around $1 million in 2018. At that time, the course had been in an ongoing process of being restored before closing completely.

Sherwood is far from the only golf course in the county to face financial woes over the last several years. One course in Cocoa was turned into a 224-home subdivision beginning in 2016.

Tom Erdman, a resident of the area for over 30 years, is among those leading the charge against the development.

He has organized multiple community meetings over the past year, hoping to stop the rezoning or at least mitigate the scope of the hundreds of homes planned for the golf course, including starting the website SaveSherwood.com.

One of the primary apprehensions among residents revolves around the potential impact on local infrastructure, with flooding being a key fear, especially after Hurricane Ian left many residential streets in the areas around the golf course completely inundated.

Golfweek’s Best: Top public and private courses in Florida

“What are we going to do when we get flooding and the developers are gone?” Erdman said. “These guys will make millions and we get screwed.”

Erdman estimates that an overwhelming majority of homeowners in the neighborhoods surrounding the golf course are against the project. Earlier this year, he was able to gather 600 signatures opposing the project as it is currently designed. Also, community meetings on the issue regularly draw more than 100 people, he said.

Developers with the Ballarena Group, the firm hoping to develop the land, did not return a request for comment. District 1 County Commissioner Rita Pritchett, who represents the area, also did not return a request for comment.

County planning staff have said they are still reviewing the developer’s “latest submittal.”

“At this point, the application is not scheduled for any public hearings,” Planning and Development Director Tad Calkins wrote in an email.

Although no final decision has yet been made, Erdman said he and other residents have not had their concerns abated, especially over traffic. According to plans submitted by the developer, the new housing could nearly double traffic in the area, pushing the current estimated 7,000 daily trips to 13,000 if the new homes are added. Carpenter Road, the two-lane through road that connects the neighborhoods to State Road 46, is going to quickly become clogged, Erdman said.

“This neighborhood isn’t set up for that kind of traffic,” Erdman added.

Homeowners are currently researching what options they might have, he said. “We’re looking into options for the homeowners to maybe buy some of the property. Or some houses could be built while also maintaining some green space.”

Tyler Vazquez is the North Brevard and Brevard County government watchdog reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Vazquez at 321-480-0854 or tvazquez@floridatoday.com

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek