Instant Payday Advance Instant Payday Advance

Oakwood Club to Oakwood Commons

THE CASE FOR OAKWOOD COMMONS – a real win-win situation

…from Jane Goodman, the Councilwoman who represents the South Euclid ward in which most of the commercial uses and some of the natural space involved in this proposed development would reside; who served as outreach and education director for Clean-Land, Ohio/Parkworks for seven years, and who has had the same role for the past four years with the Cuyahoga River watershed and Remedial Action Plan Area of Concern, in which this property sits. In other words, after twenty years as an environmental activist in Northeast Ohio, I’ve earned my stripes and I don’t know of anyone who’d have the chutzpah to accuse me of not being green enough.

So here we are. Lots of people have lots to say about what should be done about the Oakwood Club property, but they don’t own it and neither do the cities they hope can do things cities are unable to do. Neither South Euclid nor Cleveland Heights had the wherewithal to purchase and maintain the property. We can, however, control to some extent the way in which whatever is done there is carried out. We have environmental protection laws, design standards, and, above all, the best interests of our city and our residents’ quality of life guiding us.

I truly believe that we have been given a golden opportunity to have a natural area for park space, hundreds of new jobs and millions in new revenues, all of which we so sorely need. We get to work with a developer who is willing to think outside the “big box” and make this a showcase for green development.

Here is my response to some of the most heard comments, and why I ask for support for this initiative and for the future of South Euclid as a model of innovation and a magnet for a new generation:

1. Zoning: It’s not a choice between commercial and parkland, it’s between commercial and residential.

Many seem to think that Council gets to decide between development or no development on that property, and it’s not the case since the city doesn’t own the land. We can only decide between commercial and residential or a combination thereof. Neither zoning designation would prohibit an owner from applying for a variance to use the land as park, nature center, urban farm or other nature-centered use.

2. Residential development would mean streets, paving, no guarantee of public access or any public park, and higher costs for community services borne by taxpayers.

The developer has to get his investment back and make a profit. Commercial development benefits him AND others (employees, the city) more than would residential property taxes and individual income taxes. So he’d have to jam as many homes as possible on the property.

A residential development, all private property, with roads and driveways and heavily fertilized and pesticide-laden monoculture lawns and exotic species landscaping means NO public access, NO public nature trails or native plantings or reforestation and definitely NOT the same level of improvement to the soil or watershed as is offered here.

Whether we rezone or not, the South Euclid space is NOT going to remain undeveloped. But with this plan, we get to save more than a third of the SE space and, if CH goes along, almost two thirds of the entire property would wind up as higher quality PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE greenspace.

3. This deal would improve the environmental quality of the property in terms of soil, roots, canopy cover, streambank stabilization, sediment control, stormwater infiltration and management, plant and wildlife habitat and diversity, and water quality in Nine Mile Creek. We’d get a smaller amount of BETTER quality green space, and a net gain of trees over what’s there now.

Golf courses and groomed grassy parks are among the worst possible land uses from an environmental standpoint. They are almost as damaging, in some case more damaging, to the environment, surface water quality, air quality, fuel efficiency and water conservation, as a parking lot:

• The fertilizers used to keep turf and exotic species plantings green, which run off the surface as “non point-source pollution” are a major cause of the high nutrient, especially phosphate, levels that are now the primary pollution problem in Lake Erie.

• The pesticides used to control weeds also enter streams and degrade the population of aquatic micro-invertebrates that are the base of the food chain that supports wildlife in the area and in the lake.

• Vehicles used to mow and apply nutrients are notoriously non-fuel-efficient and are heavy contributors of unregulated emissions that keep us in a state of non-attainment for air quality, contribute to asthma and respiratory illness which has risen to alarming levels in this area. The less mowing the better.

• Surfaces become impermeable as topsoil is seriously degraded. Grass is mowed short, to require less-frequent mowing, but that means the root systems are shallow, so they hold little water. Removing cuttings means organic matter can’t build new topsoil. Water can’t infiltrate the hardpan that underlies the grass, so more water rushes off the surface into streams, adding to erosion and flooding.

• Mowing to the edge of streams causes banks to collapse and erode, sending sediment into streams, raising the base and distorting the stream’s ability to hold water.

• Watering the lawns is inefficient but necessary with turf grass and exotic species plantings.

• Groomed and landscaped areas such as golf courses and formal parklands are too often maintained with cost in mind, meaning limited varieties of exotic species of plants are installed more for ornamental, ease-of-maintenance or “neatness” values rather than a diverse collection of native plants that need less irrigation because deep roots provide water retention, and the natives provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife.

This deal would leave more than a third of the SE space natural, restored from the degraded horrendous golf course condition it’s in now. Like the constructed wetland on Green, it would be restored to higher quality greenspace than it is today. AND with our new riparian code and landscaping code and the NPDES stormwater rules in place the developer will have to include considerable amounts of trees and plantings throughout the parking lots.

That would be a net gain in leaf cover, native plantings, soil and water quality and root penetration over the current situation over the South Euclid section of property.

3. Done right (and I plan to be relentless in pushing this) this could be a model for building green shopping centers.

We spend a lot of time talking about how builders can plan, pave and plant developments that reduce stormwater runoff, increase infiltration, improve forest canopy to shade cars, reduce auto emissions, use native plants to store water, and build energy efficient structures. And we have a tough time getting developers to DO these beneficial practices – BMPs, Best Management Practices.

Now, here’s someone who agrees that it would be mutually beneficial to make this a model using a range of these practices. This site sits adjacent to our Green Neighborhoods area, where we’re trying to bring people to see how to revitalize neighborhoods with green buildings. This site could become a model for how to build a green shopping center. And if any developer might possibly pull it off, it would be Schneider.

4. Commercial development would NOT necessarily depress housing values, but new residential development could.

Contrary to popular belief that says a commercial development would depress property values, the way this commercial site is laid out, its location vis a vis surrounding homes, and the fact that this is so close to the main commercial district at Cedar Road, it is more likely to increase the value of surrounding homes.

Development of a whole lot of new homes in this particular area could, however, depress the property values of the older homes in the surrounding neighborhoods just when we’re trying to renew those streets and draw buyers to them.

5. “We don’t need more retail.” Well, maybe not as a region, but as a city we surely do. And as a city with rising costs and diminishing receipts, we need it bad.

Many critics have charged that the developer should “fill the vacant spaces” before building new. There may be too much retail in the wrong place, but in fact in South Euclid there isn’t enough. We ask people to keep their shopping dollars in the community but in most cases that’s impossible. There’s no place in South Euclid to buy shoes or pants or a sweater, unless it’s a closeout at Marc’s. We have none of the chain retailers you shop at…the Target, Joann and Macy’s are in University Heights, the Home Depot and cool restaurants are in Cleveland Heights, the Pet Supplies Plus is in Lyndhurst and the closest book store is the Borders in Beachwood.

People are entitled to improve their quality of life by moving into a bigger, newer home that better suits their needs, and businesses should be able to do the same. AND why, I ask, should the people who live in my ward be forced to drive many miles, use a lot of gas, pollute the air and degrade our infrastructure in order to shop where they like?

And for people who live in Cleveland Heights, jam-packed with retail and rife with parkland – from Shaker Lakes to Forest Hills Park, Cain Park, Cumberland Park, etc., to tell us in South Euclid how much of either kind of land use we need or don’t need is just insulting. The vacant storefronts on Mayfield are the business of those building owners, over whom we exert no control. We wish they could fill them, and believe that Cedar Center and Oakwood Commons can power the magnet to bring small businesses to fill those spaces.

6. THIS TYPE OF DEVELOPMENT, IN THIS PLACE, IS ANTI-SPRAWL.

We decry urban sprawl and measure the shrinking of populations, and commenters would like cities like ours to acknowledge that fact and, presumably, throw up our hands and lie down and die. This project is the perfect solution for our landlocked city – new income and improved greenspace IN AN INNER RING SUBURB. It will draw shoppers and homebuyers back to our community.

This isn’t an exurb, it’s an urban community. Clustering development around the Cedar-Warrensville area is the sane way to provide products and services in walkable or short-trip ways that can reduce dependence on oil.

7. We’re not, as some would say, being “greedy” by attempting to increase revenues.

We, like those critics, have bills to pay. Costs keep rising but income doesn’t, and without raising residents’ taxes we’d be deep in the hole. It would be irresponsible of us not to look for ways to bring our revenue up to meet our expenses. That’s not greed, thats responsible governance. Even if the development produces conservative projected revenues, it would bring more than half a million (NOTE: I HAVE REDUCED THIS NUMBER FROM THE ORIGINAL POST, SO AS NOT TO SEEM OVERLY GIDDY OR NAIVE ABOUT PROJECTIONS.) to the city’s coffers each year in property and income taxes. If it reaches projections, it would put more than a million dollars into the CH-UH school system. And this developer is not even asking for tax abatements or TIF financing. That’s a real investment in our community.

8. YES, there are issues that will have to be addressed:

• Traffic is going to increase. But it’s been decreasing for almost twenty years. Counts show that traffic along Warrensville now is about half the volume it was in the mid-80’s.  Still, current residents have trouble with cut-through traffic, speeding, and lines of idling cars waiting for the light to change. The current light setup was designed for the current low volume. As traffic increases, however, and lights and lanes are reconfigured to accommodate entrance and exit from the Commons, we’ll have a chance to address those concerns.

• Access to the greenspace behind E. Antisdale needs to connect to the larger greenspace north of the stores and through a generous buffer strip behind the homes that actually back up to the parking area.

• Locally-owned businesses will lose some business to new retailers. We as a city need to make sure that these business owners get help promoting their businesses and marketing their services, and we need to continue to support them. It’s our responsibility to do so.

• Kids will hang out there rather than on residential street corners. (Some of the neighbors in surrounding streets will welcome this wholeheartedly.) The developer/management firm has an excellent track record for keeping its properties clean and safe. It provides its own security, with no tolerance for misbehavior. The demand for police and, to a lesser extent fire services, will still increase, even if it’s for traffic stops and other matters. Much of the new income will go to pay for more services.

• Walkability means foot traffic will also increase along side streets, and that’s where litter control will be an even bigger problem than it already is. Our block clubs and neighborhood organizations can help work on this.

• Yes, many of the jobs could wind up merely being transferred from one location to another if a store closes one facility to move here. And yes, this isn’t a medical office building, these are relatively low-to-moderate-wage jobs. So we have to be conservative when we talk about the net job gain for the area, and realistic when creating expectations about average salaries of new jobs.

• Finally we have to be diligent at every step along the design and approval and permitting process. Homes nearby need to be protected from noise, night lights, all the changes in quality of life that can come with changes like this.

• Stormwater regulations must be followed. We must have a working agreement as to the use of the “natural” space as a stormwater management BMP. It must be done in such a way as to give us REAL access.

I believe that the developer’s planning staff shares my passion about this and about the value of this asset as a demonstration and environmental education tool.

One of my favorite sentiments is this: If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. I’m not crazy about what we have, so I think we should grab this chance to do something different.

Another philosophy I ask you to join me in making real is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

This is our time to kickstart the revitalization of South Euclid. Either we go for broke or we go broke. Let’s just go.

I invite thoughtful comments to this post. If you just want to repeat the “it should be a park” or “we don’t need more retail” arguments, please resist.

10 Responses to “Oakwood Club to Oakwood Commons”


  1. Dee Shedlow

    Jane -

    Thank you for stating your reasons for supporting the rezoning of the Oakwood property. I have several concerns.

    The first is that there is no economic sense to any residential development of this property. Once you accept that fact, then some of the other ideas put forth in this proposal for retail development seem more like lies. (If the developer is lying about plans for “high-end” residences, why wouldn’t he lie about LEED construction, etc.)

    As you observe, the cities cannot control what happens to the property, as they do not own it, nor do they have the financial resources to purchase it – all they have is authority over the zoning. If the property is rezoned for commercial/retail, how much can input will the city(s) actually have over the way the property development and construction is done?

    I also read a very interesting letter on the subject from a Lyndhurst resident who observed that they (the residents of Lyndhurst) were also promised financial boons if the construction of Legacy Village were approved. (Letter found here: http://blog.cleveland.com/letters/2011/01/south_euclid_cleveland_heights.html) She states that instead of a tax decrease (I understand that no one in SE government has suggested this might happen), Lyndhurst has had to raise taxes to support the need for increased services like police at Legacy Village. You state that if the revenues are even 1/2 of what is projected, SE will receive $1.5 million in additional revenue. In an era where we have learned that businesses and banks have manipulated numbers to allow for short-term gain, with no thought to the future, why should we trust the projections of developers? Where does University Heights stand with regard to the projections made for that eyesore of a development at University Square?

    I look forward to any response you may have to these issues.

  2. Jane

    Hi, Dee,
    I appreciate your taking the time to comment, and I have concerns as well, though they’re not the ones you have.
    First, my comments regarding residential development, in fact ALL my comments, applied to the South Euclid portion of the property only, not to the proposed uses on the northern portion. As to residential development making sense at the northern end, in fact there is a shortage of market rate single-level (apartment building) apartments in that area of Cleveland Heights, even in our city. Those would not necessarily compete with our attempts to revitalize the West 5 neighborhood.

    As for the developer’s truthfulness about his plans for construction, and our ability to control how design and construction is done, we do have a LOT of control, and much of the green building initiatives actually come from the retailers themselves. The LEED issue is one that the retailer either initiates (most common) or signs on to as part of the contract (more and more common every year.) That covers the buildings themselves and the operations within the envelope (energy efficiency, conservation, waste reduction, etc.)

    In addition to that, and even more important, the EPA requires that our city have certain stormwater management, water quality and soil conservation codes in place, which we have:
    • In order to build anything nowadays you have to store and filter all stormwater runoff onsite and limit how much can go down the sewer drain. He has to do this in order to get a permit. The way he does it is by installing planted swales and permable paving in and around the parking lot, and by using a small portion of the greenspace he’s giving us as a new wetland to store and filter runoff.
    • During construction he has to protect any trees and replace any he removes with adult, large trees, and limit the area his bulldozers compact the soil, and keep soil from washing off the surface into the sewers.
    • Our riparian setback code requires that he keep any paving or building a good distance away from the creek, and that he improve the setback area and plant a real, effective buffer zone to keep the streambanks from eroding and capture any runoff from nearby surfaces before it hits the creek.
    • Our new landscaping code requires that a buffer zone be created between the site and adjacent homes (of which there are only about 40), and that a bunch of new trees and plantings be done around the site and within the parking area.
    • Any building design or signage must pass first our planning commission and then our architectural review board (and those guys are picky.) When GFS Marketplace came to us to buy the west end of Cedar Center, they came with their boilerplate store designs and we insisted that they make some changes to make it fit in better with the surrounding area, and to adjust their product sizes and offerings for this store to better serve the folks in the neighborhood who needed more grocery-style and individual-size items than they sell in other stores.

    The letter from the Lyndhurst lady was not based on any facts. A LOT of the comments on cleveland.com and facebook and elsewhere come from people who just don’t have the facts or the numbers but are either made up or twisted to support the person’s position, or are misunderstandings of the facts. That development has delivered more money to Lyndhurst than was originally projected, way more than enough to cover any additional police or fire runs. First Interstate does its own security, plowing, etc., Lyndhurst doesn’t bear that burden. The fact that stores move out and others move in is a fact of life. Joseph Beth didn’t close because of lousy business here but because the whole corporation, headquartered in the south, decided to shrink itself to get out of bankruptcy that wasn’t a problem with this store but with the company. Lyndhurst’s tax increases haven’t been connected to Legacy. Voters passed school levies since it was built, and money’s been spent on other services.

    I agree with you about being cautious about projections, so using half of theirs seems realistic to me. This guy is financing his own project, unlike others who are relying on bond issues and banks. That makes a big difference in our confidence. This is HIS and his investors’ money he’s bringing here. So if he makes money we make money on HIS income. I rely on the self-interest of these folks, that’s where some of our revenue comes from.

    Developers like Schneider need their spaces to keep earning so they can get their return on their investment. They don’t sell the stores to retailers, they rent them. They don’t put up buildings and sell them and walk away. They stay to manage their properties, so it’s in his interest to keep the spaces full.

    The type and caliber of tenant is going to be one of the things we will look at and be diligent about as he fills the spaces. We don’t want crappy stores any more than you do. Beware of people who say “I heard this business or that business was interested” or “..was moving there.” Just because someone’s interested doesn’t mean it’s happening. These guys know that if they don’t give us good retailers, clean spaces and make their centers attractive they lose in the end.

    Finally, I believe in “trust but verify” and so I know that we, especially I, will have to monitor this project on a daily basis, to make sure he’s keeping his commitments. Many on his is planning staff have been with him since Legacy was done, and over the ten years since that project a LOT has happened in terms of green building. We are adamant about maintaining a certain quality of business.

    You live here. Doesn’t it bother you that most of your shopping dollars go out of the city and don’t come back as taxes to pay for our services? Wouldn’t you rather take a chance and know that at least this would keep us from having to raise YOUR taxes to pay for shortfalls in revenue, rising expenses and the loss of the $1.2 million in state support? If we don’t do this, we’ll never get ahead of where we are now.

    Have a good day, and thanks again for asking and getting involved in the discussion. It’s more than most have done.

    Jane

  3. Dee Shedlow

    Jane -

    Thanks for your reply. You’ve certainly given me food for thought. I, like you, wish I had the necessary resources required to purchase the property, remove the golf course, and restore the land with native plantings, etc. Unfortunately, I don’t. I understand the pragmatic nature of your support for this project, and am grateful you answered my questions. I have linked to your blog post on my facebook page (having previously linked to the letter regarding Legacy Village). I hope we generate some discussion.

    Dee

  4. Susan Miller

    “I invite thoughtful comments to this post. If you just want to repeat the “it should be a park” or “we don’t need more retail” arguments, please save your time and breath.”

    “save your breath”? Jane – I find this tone inappropriate. It doesn’t exactly invite. You invite in one sentence and rescind it in the next. You’re invited, but not if you disagree with me. Is that it?

    Then to Dee – “Have a good day, and thanks again for asking and getting involved in the discussion. It’s more than most have done.”

    “it’s more than most have done”? Really? I think the members of Severance Neighborhood Organization would find that remark offensive.

    May I please request a buffer of civility as we move forward in this discussion?

    Might I also suggest that we broaden the discussion to a regional level and a watershed/subwatershed level?

    And, could we please eat this “cow” one bite at a time? It is my opinion that the business owners/residents/taxpayers/voters deserve to better understand all the issues facing our community for the long term. We may need to slow down, back up and zoom out for a bit, so that we level the playing field between those of us with information and those like me who are still running to catch up.

  5. Jane

    Susan, I’m chastened as I deserve to be. You’re right, my choice of words was driven by frustration and emotion and I apologize.
    And yes, I am grateful to Dee and members of SNO who have been willing to hear and consider the circumstances in which we find ourselves relative to the economic landscape as well as the biological one. And to you, of course, for being a patient friend and counselor.

    So many of the issues that enter into this decision making process are, as you say, not common knowledge, and as an educator I really should have done a better job of explaining them. I’ll try to be better.

    Yes, I hope this situation serves a larger cause, to get communities working on a watershed basis and a regional one. I think this is an important role that the new county government needs to play, as convener of these discussions. Since South Euclid is the city whose residents’ dollars all go to neighboring cities, whether it’s spent on shoes at Macy’s (UH) or a refrigerator at Home Depot (CH), it would be like a homeless person knocking on the rich guy’s door asking him to discuss sharing some of his wealth. So it would be great if Julian Rogers and Sunny Simon convened a discussion among the two district’s communities.

    Thanks and be well,
    Jane

  6. Hank Drake

    Jane, thanks for your cogent and comprehensive post. Over the past week, I have done a lot of soul searching. I hope you don’t mind some comments on my part even though I live in Moe Romeo’s ward.

    My parents moved to South Euclid in 1971. Wiggam’s Farm was a short walk from our house. Everything we needed was a short drive: Richmond Mall, Hilltop Plaza, Chief’s Car Wash (where they cleaned the inside of your car, not just the exterior). Great schools: Anderson, Memorial, and Brush. Who could ask for anything more?

    Maybe I am being overly nostalgic when I remember the old days, and viewing things with rose-tinted glasses. Because not everything was great. South Euclid was still pretty segregated then – if not in law, certainly in fact. And the Saturday stench of vehicles on Monticello, Green, and Mayfield Roads (leaded gas back then) gave me constant headaches that made me dread the weekend. In some ways, things are better today.

    In any case, after living elsewhere, I made the choice in 2008 to move back to South Euclid. The primary reasons were price/value of housing, and the convenience to work, retail, and culture. For location and convenience, South Euclid can’t be beat. And allow me to be blunt: when I read comments at cleveland.com and elsewhere that disparage our community as going downhill and “ghetto”, I think that says more about the commenter than the community.

    You have correctly pointed out that much of the local retail is, in fact, across the border in UH and CH. I believe that many people think regionally when shopping, and I certainly think of the area between Severance and Golden Gate as one big shopping district. So, many of us forget that all South Euclid has for retail are some corner strip malls, and Mayfield Road – which is certainly mixed in quality.

    As far as Oakwood in South Euclid is concerned – despite what others have said, this apprears to be a done deal. Ideally, I would have loved to see the entire area as a park – not mixed use like Quarry, Cain Park, or Forest Hills – just nature and trails. But given the choice between more residential in South Euclid and a bit more retail, I prefer the latter. First Interstate is certainly going to have their work cut out for them – filling retail space in an era of declining population and Internet shopping. If they can manage that without negatively impacting other local retail, good for them. It will be up to the government of South Euclid to make sure that First Interstate keeps any promises they make regarding LEED and green construction.

    As far as the Cleveland Heights portion, that’s up to the people there to decide. But if there are people who want Oakwood in CH preserved as a park, they should step up to the plate with the necessary financing. Time is running out.

  7. Jane

    Hank,
    I realized yesterday that much of what is driving my efforts to make the best out of a bad situation, most notably restoring the “back 20 acres,” has to do with the fact that I was born in a house in Cleveland Heights that backs onto those acres of this property that would become our city’s small natural area. Until I was five my sisters and I played back there, picking wildflowers and berries, and I think it’s one reason I love nature so much. I’d like kids growing up there now to have that experience.

    Since we can only work with the land in our city, and the sale has limited our choices, and we really need new income sources and can’t afford to take that land off the tax rolls, I hope that the folks who want the Cleveland Heights portion to become public park are successful for their portion. I would LOVE to have that in my neighborhood without having to pay for the privilege.

  8. Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Weblog

    Oakwood Commons reactions…

    South Euclid City Council referred the proposed rezoning for the Oakwood Commons development to the City’s Planning Commission. Residents at the City Council meeting expressed their objections to the proposed big box retail. Community Services Directo…

  9. Ignorance Is Biss

    Golf course space is almost as bad as a parking lot? I am never surprised at the ignorance in this world! Do you not realize that the men and women who manage golf courses are some of the most eco conscience managers of land out there. Maybe we should turn every golf course in the world into pavement and see how that works out! Educate yourself before you try to educate others.

  10. Jane

    Dear jondoe,
    I am, in fact, an environmental educator by profession, work for the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan, and have written two books on the subject of land use and watersheds, and so I come to this with some understanding of the situation. I’m also a former golfer. I am sure that there are golf course managers out there who try to use good practices, but the fact is that a major and very serious cause of organic pollution in Lake Erie is nonpoint source runoff of nutrients (fertilizers) from grass. Rain runs off because it doesn’t filter down, carrying with it fertilizers and pesticides, and that’s what makes it comparable to a parking lot.
    1. Turf grass, whether the varieties used for fairways or greens, is not native to North America, so no resident wildlife benefits from its presence and it requires irrigation since its roots are shallow and it neither stores more water than is evaporated daily through its blades nor directs water down into the soil where it can infiltrate and be stored;
    2. In order to keep the ways green you have to fertilize the grass. We both know that most courses save money by feeding the blades and not by spreading and combing in acres’ worth of organic compost to feed the roots. There’s just no way to get that rich, green turf that country clubs require without heavy doses of nitrogen, or strong plant tissue without phosphorus, and those are the two biggest nutrient problems in Lake Erie at the moment. Much of that nutrient pollution is coming from excess fertilizers running off the surface into streams. Look at the edges of Oakwood’s stream segments of Nine Mile Creek and you see that’s the case.
    3. Fairways and greens are monocultures, and there’s just no way to keep those weed-free without using herbicides. I don’t know about your course or your practices, but here, and at Oakwood, that is the case. We know this by sampling the water flowing off the property and through Nine Mile Creek. New, eco-conscious practices are gaining ground but progress is slow and habits die hard.
    4. For various reasons (making it easier to get the ball out of the stream?) managers mow grass to the edge of streams, which promotes erosion and sedimentation, which is absolutely the worst thing you can do for stream health and is also a serious ecological problem in this watershed. This is why riparian setbacks and plantings are required in most communities’ building codes (including ours, now) as non-structural Best Management Practices (BMPs) for stormwater management and water quality.
    5. Finally, the infiltration rate of golf course turf is only slightly higher than that of concrete. Both absorb small amounts of precipitation but do not allow much infiltration. Frequent shallow watering makes shallow roots and hard subsoils. Period.

    I wish it weren’t the case, and I know that many many golf course owners and clubs do their best to modernize their practices and to make their courses healthy pieces of the environment. But not enough are able to do so, either because of the additional expense or the American love of perfect turf.