UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — The debate over long-term housing rentals at the Chambers Bay public golf course has ended at least for now with county council members leaving the door open to the construction of housing near the golf course.

Pierce County Council members voted this week to update the plan for the golf course complex in University Place, the News Tribune reported (https://goo.gl/RXZKbs).

It preserves the phrase “extended stay lodging.”

Councilwoman Connie Ladenburg, whose district includes University Place, argued the language broke a promise to county taxpayers that the park and the golf course would not be used for housing.

“It wasn’t built to be a place for people to live. People do not want people living on that park,” she said.

She offered an unsuccessful amendment to remove the extended stay wording.

Her husband, former County Executive John Ladenburg, said long-term rentals could hurt efforts to attract more major golf tournaments such as the U.S. Open, hosted by the site in 2015.

Proponents including Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier said the villas would make it easier for hotel developers to obtain financing and that the county would benefit in the long run.

At the core of the issue is a planned resort hotel at the golf course, accompanied by up to 190 golf villas tucked into a hillside overlooking the park’s Central Meadow. The proposed villas and the prospect of leasing have been included in the planning process for over a year. The University Place City Council also approved a plan in June that included the extended stay language.

Aimed at golfing tourists, the two-story villas — perceived as high-end vacation rentals — could be leased for a month or more, according to the plan proposal.

Council Chairman Doug Richardson, echoing Dammeier, framed the plan as a generalized document rather than a detailed punch list.

“We are not approving a site design for Chambers Bay,” he said, adding that specific details regarding the villas and long-term rentals could be worked out later when the county negotiates a ground lease for the resort proposal.


Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com

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