By Lisa Zahner
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Indian River Board of County Commissioners voted 5-0 Tuesday to have county staff or contractors mow the grass and weeds determined to be a public nuisance on nine holes of the Vista Golf Course just off U.S. 1 near McKee Gardens.
The weeds, which have grown to five feet high or higher in parts of the course, were determined to be a fire hazard as they could be subject to drought and wildfires and are less than 50 feet from residences in some places.
Though dozens of residents of the condominium community had gathered in the commission chambers in support of the nuisance abatement measure, they did not speak. Commissioners indicated that they had heard from many of the condo owners indivudually and were in favor of the measure.
This action was the culmination of several months of code enforcement meetings and procedures. On July 27, local attorney Charles Sullivan, who owns the nine holes of the golf course affected under the name Vista Golf LLC Properties, was given 14 days to commence mowing of the property and was ordered to complete the job in 30 days.
On Aug. 24, the county made a finding of noncompliance and began imposing a $100 per day fine going back to Aug. 11 when the mowing was ordered to commence. The Code Enforcement Board also made a determination of public nuisance, warranting the county to abate the problem.
Whatever costs the county incurs in mowing the weeds and grass and removing the debris will be accounted for as a property tax lien on Vista Golf LLC Properties.
Commissioner Joe Flescher urged county staff to find the “most efficient and cost-effective manner” to return the golf course to a proper state of maintenance to afford the surrounding residents a better “quality of life.”
Commissioner Bob Solari expressed concern that the staff do an adequate job and leave the property in a suitable state for a residential area, proposing that it would need to be mowed twice. Commissioner Gary Wheeler said he had full confidence that the county staff could manage the project well.
Chairman Wesley Davis suggested a useful by-product that could be gleaned from the mowing project.
“Bale it and feed it to cows,” he said.