The Little Club golf course has a number of lakes. Gulf Stream wants to double the size of a small, quarter-acre lake to provide additional drainage for a town capital improvement project. Photo provided
By Steve Plunkett
A demand by The Little Club to have a separate engineer review the town’s drainage plan may cause a three-month delay and add a year or more to the Gulf Stream capital improvement project, officials said.
Town Manager Greg Dunham told commissioners on June 10 that for the past year Gulf Stream’s consulting engineers at Baxter & Woodman have been “laboring under the assumption” that The Little Club would let the town enlarge one of its lakes to filter stormwater.
“But recently in meeting with The Little Club, they’ve expressed the need for them to use a golf course architect and their engineer to review this,” Dunham said.
And worse, the club’s engineer has other work booked and cannot start this review for two or three months.
Mayor Scott Morgan was not happy with The Little Club’s leaders.
“They spoke before the commission in June of 2021, one year ago this month, and made statements that they’re in agreement with that (proposal) and that the pond that was selected was the perfect place to do it without interfering with golf play,” Morgan said.
Baxter & Woodman engineer Rebecca Travis is supposed to present a draft design of the drainage and roadwork at the commission’s July 8 meeting, with 60% completed plans due in December and final plans next April. Dunham said perhaps she can provide another option.
“The schedule that we’ve got really can’t wait two or three months,” Dunham said.
No one from The Little Club attended the meeting, and club manager Rob Lehner did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
Gulf Stream wants to improve the streets, drainage and water mains on both the west and east sides of its Core area. Part of the plan includes replacing a 24-inch drainage pipe from Polo Drive to a canal off the Intracoastal Waterway with a 48-inch pipe. In order to gain permission from the South Florida Water Management District, the engineers have proposed enlarging a quarter-acre lake at The Little Club to a half-acre. The district does not consider a lake smaller than a half-acre as helping drainage.
“Part of the main reason that we’re redoing the roads is to eliminate the flooding that’s been occurring for decades,” Morgan said.
Commissioner Paul Lyons said he hoped to outlive the construction phase.
“This CIP plan — it’s taking a long time. I just want to be sure I have an opportunity to enjoy it,” he said of the town’s capital improvement plan. The town is in year five of the 10-year plan and wants the Core phase of the drainage project completed in three years.
The mayor said he and Dunham would continue discussions with club leaders.
Dunham said if negotiations with the club fail, Gulf Stream’s Plan B would be to use “water filtration trenches” all around town.
But that option also has potential problems.
“These trenches are rather large and our rights-of-way are full of other utilities,” he said.