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Upkeep of course a concern
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More than three years after Gold Creek Golf Club closed, the property's overgrowth and expanding nuisance wildlife population have stirred concern from neighbors.

Monday night, the Gold Creek Homeowners Association presented a formal complaint about the situation to the Dawsonville City Council.

According to Jon Steiner, association president, "letting nature take its own course" at the site has meant increasing resident encounters with coyotes, vermin and snakes.

Steiner asked the city to address the property's "disorder" with local businessman Kenneth K. Turner in the hope that it would "at least show him the city is supporting Gold Creek."

Turner acquired the nearly 355-acre site, including the clubhouse, golf course and several adjacent home lots, for $900,000 in December 2010. The price was less than half of the property's appraised value.

Turner did not attend the meeting. Reached by phone afterward, he said he's been working to reopen the golf course, which has been closed since 2008, for about a year.

He did not indicate how long it would take to get the course back in shape, but said he is "waiting to get the sprinkler system straightened out" before having the tall grass cut.

"We are trying to get the golf course back open and we are taking care of the grass," Turner said. "We have to be careful how we mow the grass."

According to Turner, a special lawnmower is required to maintain the fine grass favored at golf courses. That's why he has asked nearby residents not to mow it themselves.

"When they cut the grass with the wrong mower they are actually damaging it," Turner said. "That's why I asked them not to, and it's actually illegal for them to be cutting it."

According to Steiner's complaint, the residents are cutting the grass on their own time to discourage rodents.

He points out the city's unkempt property ordinance and its attempt to address health issues in response to property care.

"Perhaps the city council might want to explore and amend this city ordinance to where if I am living next to a neighbor who has an unkempt yard, and I have vermin coming into my house, then that is a health issue," he said.

"Perhaps the unkempt property ordinance needs to be expanded, because that's what our families are dealing with out in Gold Creek," Steiner said.

In response to their comments, Mayor Joe Lane Cox assured Steiner and neighbor Gail Horne the city would "explore all the possibilities."

"If there is anything we can do, we will do it," Cox said. "I feel sorry for you people that you have invested your hard-earned money and time to put up with this."