(guest posting by Chris Montague-Breakwell)
The Institute Golf Course, built illegally without permits from the city of Morgan Hill, has destroyed endangered species’ habitat and threatens to pollute local groundwater with fertilizer and pesticide run-off. And still, the city has not taken the golf course’s owners to task for their violations.
The Institute Golf Course has yet to fulfill the city of Morgan Hill’s mitigation conditions. The city’s Mitigation and Monitoring Reporting Program (MMRP) compliance review specified a groundwater investigation to be completed by mid-March of 2005. (Mitigation 9, Conditions #12A, B, C) The Institute Golf Course project engineer claimed they were waiting for the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) to complete the Llagas basin water study before submitting their groundwater report. However, as the Llagas basin model is very broad in scope and will not be completed for some time, Morgan Hill again required the Institute Golf Course to submit a groundwater report. No penalty will be assessed to the golf course if “good faith” and “substantial activity towards completing the investigation by February 2006,” despite missing the city’s original deadline of March 2005 by almost one year.
After so much delay on pressing environmental impact questions, why the city is treating the Institute with kid gloves is a mystery. The disagreement over the water district study should have been resolved long ago. The Institute Golf Course did not show “good faith” when they enlarged the golf course without permits from the city, nor have they been quick to respond to the city’s environmental mitigation conditions to make up or repair land damaged by their development.
Further, peak water us for the golf course will happen during the hot summer months. How can the groundwater investigation, due February 2006, be accurately conducted in rainy winter months when irrigating the golf course will not put pressure on water resources?
(For more information on The Institute Golf Course, click here.)