Golfers are making their way back to Plantation Palms Golf Club after a brief closing in August. But now there’s another sand trap in the way.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District, better known as Swiftmud, could file a lawsuit against the golf course owners, saying they overpumped nearly double the amount of water they were permitted to use to irrigate the course.
A call Friday to one of the golf course’s owners, Jason Ray, was not returned.
MJS Golf Group LLC, which owns Plantation Palms’ golf course, was using 144,500 gallons of water per day on average over the summer, despite the fact they were permitted to use just a little more than 76,600 gallons. That was 89 percent more than the golf course was supposed to use, according to Swiftmud. That’s enough water to nearly fill four standard swimming pools.
This complaint comes after the golf course was notified in 2011 that it was using more than 117,000 gallons per day, 54 percent more than was permitted.
Swiftmud penalized MJS just under $12,000 for the overpumping, adding another $1,000 for its enforcement costs. However, MJS didn’t respond to the order, and that might force Swiftmud to take the golf course owner to court.
While Swiftmud is in charge of enforcing the amount of water commercial properties extract from the ground, it’s not very often the government organization is forced to go to court, said Swiftmud spokeswoman Terri Behling said.
Swiftmud “is hopeful we can still resolve the compliance issue through a consent order, but if that is not successful, the district would then issue an administrative complaint,” Behling said. “If a compliance issue arises, it is usually resolved by our regulatory staff, and very few compliance matters are referred to our legal department for enforcement. Of those compliance matters that are referred to our legal department, a very small number must be resolved through litigation.”
Plantation Palms Golf Club got some unwanted attention last month when the golf course closed for nearly a week. Ray, who co-owns the course with Mitch Osceola and Steve McDonald, told The Laker/Lutz News the temporary closure was because of the economy and the summer.
“It’s been too hot, and it’s been raining, and the culmination of all that just resulted in not a lot of people playing golf,” Ray said at the time. “Summertime is always tough for all the golf courses.”
MJS purchased the course in May 2011 through a $2.18 million mortgage through Native American Bank of Denver. It features 18 holes, a driving range, clubhouse and a lounge.