Officials Question Proposed Course in Rochester Hills

Members of a local waste-management association and the Royal Oak City Council are at odds over a proposed $4.9 million golf course in Rochester Hills, Michigan. The proposed Avon Meadows Golf Course, planned for construction on a former landfill, is the brainchild of the Southeastern Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority (SOCRRA), a waste-management association comprised of members from 12 local communities, including Royal Oak.

In mid-January, the Royal Oak City Commission passed resolutions that asked SOCRRA to stop the project and return money to the member cities. SOCRRA refused, and a lawsuit ensued. Later in January, a judge ordered the authority to stop spending money on building the course. The matter is still in litigation.

Plans for the course have been in the works for several years. A golf course was first envisioned for the site in 1994. In 1995, legal representation for the agency found the group did not have “legal authority” to develop or operate a course there, but could outsource the duties to another party. In 1998, another attorney deemed the agency a legal party for course development and operation. In 1999, proceeds from a land sale were set aside for the course; in 2000, feasibility studies were commissioned.

Most of the current problems stem from the feasibility study. The study determined that projected revenues from the course would total $843,000, with expenses of $829,727 – “a projected return of less than 0.3 percent a year,” said Royal Oak assistant city attorney Mark Liss.

The city concluded the $4.9 million in development costs would be better returned to the 12 communities: Berkley, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak and Troy. The communities would stand to receive anywhere from $400,000 to $1 million each from that returned amount.