Although the future look of Bobby Jones Golf Club is still in question, the Sarasota City Commission affirmed its interest in maintaining the course as an affordable municipal attraction for residents at a meeting Monday.
The commission worked on defining the scope and parameters of an ad-hoc advisory committee that will help guide the future of Bobby Jones. Commissioners unanimously voted to create the ad-hoc committee following a September workshop and commission meeting, but there was some tension between the resolution presented by City Attorney Robert Fournier and the vision that some commissioners had.
Rather than simply tasking that group with developing a request for proposals for upgrades at Bobby Jones, commissioners expressed a desire to make the ad-hoc committee a forum by which the community at large could express its vision for the future of the golf club. Vice Mayor Susan Chapman said she was worried the committee could be overpowered by voices interested in a particular vision for the golf club — such as the Friends of Bobby Jones, who advocate restoring the club's historic Donald Ross course.
“We need to make sure that, whatever we do, there are public meetings and an opportunity to bring clear public input without skewing the outcome,” Chapman said.
In addition to the scope of the work, commissioners discussed the selection process for members of the Bobby Jones committee. The commission ultimately indicated an interest in fielding applications and favoring city residents in the selection process, although expertise in the field was a leading priority for some commissioners.
The ad-hoc committee will be tasked with outlining the possible options for maintaining or upgrading the facility to the commission, making recommendations for the future growth and management of the golf club. The commission will continue its discussion regarding the makeup and purview of the committee at its next meeting.
Also at Monday’s meeting:
+ Commissioners unanimously voted to revise the city code to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression.
+ The commission amended the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning code to allow for the creation of the Rosemary Residential Overlay District, which permits the construction of higher-density housing developments within the Rosemary District.
Contact David Conway at [email protected].