A proposal to build a high-cost housing development on the site of the 130-acre Bowie Golf Course was strongly opposed this week by Bowie homeowners and elected officials.
In a public hearing before the Prince George's County Council, the Bowie representatives testified against a bill that 197 eligible for water and sewer service within three to six years. Once the service is approved, builders can begin preliminary design proposals for the area.
"My two sons are playing in the Maryland Junior Open Golf Tournament this week because of that course," said Barbara Murphy, a Bowie resident and organizer of the protest against the development. "I love that course."
The golf course land is zoned for residential development but for years has been considered part of the Bowie-Belair open space recreational activity areas. According to state Assembly Del. Lee Green, who testified that he was a member of a planning committee studying land use for its piece of ground in 1970, the land should remain open space.
"This was designated as a golf course in the guidelines of the master plan," Green said. "And if the land is now used to build a development project, you'll be laying an egg (with the community.)"
Residents of the area said the development would increase traffic and take away the visual effect of "all that green space."
"We purchased homes out here to get away from all that concrete," said State Sen. Edward Conroy. "The environmental impact would be tremendous."
Assembly Del. Charles Ryan told the council that the golf course issue "has politicized the whole community. They are collecting a large number of signatures to petition against this."
Ryan was referring to the more than 1,500 signatures presented to the council by Barbara Murphy.
William Meyers, attorney for Bowie Golf Club Inc., said the owner had "spend $250,000 trying to make it a successful club."
When the company was not seeing a return on its investment, Meyers said, it proposed to build houses valued at $90,000 to $100,000 around a nine-hold golf course on the land. "That does not fall into the urban decay category," Meyers said.
Although the council was scheduled to act on the proposal after public hearing, both sides requested a delay on the vote. Several council members said they doubt whether the proposal now has any chance of passage because of the public hearing testimony.
"It will probably go back to committee to get lost," said council member Parris N. Glendening.