Township attorney Andrew Miller called the Valley Green Golf Course open space issue a matter of "buyer's remorse."

Golf Enterprises Inc. - acting on behalf of McNaughton Homes - agreed to have the golf course in Newberry Township zoned open space in 2006 and benefited from it.

"Now they're coming to the board (of supervisors) and asking for a refund after it already used the product in the past," Miller said. "I believe that based on the evidence and testimony, the (township's) ordinance should survive the challenge."

During the four-hour fourth and final curative amendment hearing held Thursday, the board of supervisors heard final arguments from attorneys arguing for or against GEI's request to have the golf course zoned as residential growth rather than open space.

Valley Green Golf Course is the township's only open space.

The board plans to vote on the matter during its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 20. From the end of Thursday's hearing, the board has 30 days to do a public vote and 45 days to render a written decision. After that, disagreeing parties would have 30 days to appeal.

More than 50 people attended Thursday's hearing at the Newberry Township Fire Hall, where Golf Enterprises continued to contend that the ordinance to zone the course open space was a wrongful practice of spot zoning.

The golf course was zoned commercial recreational, but the township adopted a comprehensive plan that identified the course as a focal point of the neighborhood and rezoned the course to open space in 2006 to protect it from development.


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In her final argument, Helen Gemmill, GEI's attorney, said the township cannot use zoning to keep private property a certain way to be beneficial for marketing other properties.

The township cannot "impose burden" on one land owner - even if the owner benefits - to fulfill its open space requirements, while other property owners are free of such restrictions, she said.

The Valley Green Golf issue is not a spot zoning situation, but about maintaining open space and doing what is best for the community, said attorney John Elliott, a township resident who also is representing the Valley Green Residents Organization, which opposes GEI's efforts.

Elliott said GEI has presented no evidence or testimony that puts the township under legal requirement to change the course's zoning, especially knowing that GEI did not appeal the zoning decision in 2006.

"It's reasonable to have the township's open space just the way it is," Elliott said.

-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.