Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays

Golf Courses in the Resource Conservation Area (RCA) - Commission Action

On August 3, 2005, the Critical Area Commission voted to adopt an addendum to the current growth allocation policy. The addendum addresses the design and development of golf courses in the Resource Conservation Area (RCA) of the Critical Area without the use of growth allocation. This action followed six months of discussion and deliberation by the Commission that included an analysis of how golf courses have been reviewed and acted on by the Commission and an evaluation of specific golf course projects. The Commission also reviewed technical information about the water quality and habitat impacts and benefits that are associated with golf courses.

In July, the Commission solicited public comments on this issue and received over 600 letters, faxes, and e-mails. Many of the comments were a direct result of an “Action Alert” sent out by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. In response to the level of interest in this issue, the Commission Chairman and Commission staff carefully reviewed all of the comments. The Chairman and staff also met with the staff of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to work cooperatively to address their concerns as well as those expressed by the public and local governments. The final “golf course addendum” was substantially revised to eliminate ambiguous language and to clearly convey a strong set of design standards and construction practices for golf courses located in the Resource Conservation Area.

It is the Commission’s intention that these standards and recommendations will be used by the Commission and local governments to make decisions regarding the development of golf courses in the RCA. Implementation of the standards and recommendations will ensure that the policies for land use in the RCA as set forth in the Critical Area law and criteria are applied in a manner that results in an appropriate and significant balance between the golf course use and resource conservation use of the land.

Read Golf Courses in the RCA - Final Document.

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