West End owner looks to release lien, continue sale

West End Golf Course might finally see some action after the property owner appeared Thursday before an Alachua County special magistrate to remove the $37,000 lien on the land.

The lien currently blocks the sale of the land, and West End owner Peter Min said a buyer is ready to move forward.

The code violation started in July, and the county placed the lien in October because of two dead trees on the edge of the property that endangered neighboring houses, according to Alachua County’s code enforcement regulations.

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Min said the trees were removed in December, days after he discovered the problem. Over Zoom, he told the special magistrate that his family moved to Illinois before the lien occurred and added that the county’s notices weren’t received.

Because of that, Min accumulated almost $37,000 in fines at a rate of $250 per day.

However, Min said he quickly resolved the issue after hearing about it from the buyer, who couldn’t proceed to a sale. Min also said that he entered an agreement with a local tree company to periodically check the property to prevent a breach in the county’s code.

Min requested a reduction in the fine amount, offering to pay $3,000 along with the $210 administrative fee.

During the hearing, Min’s lawyer asked if he thought the original amount was reasonable.

“I don’t, only because we had no idea, no notification,” Min said. “Then when we were notified, we took care of it immediately.”

Members of the West End Community Alliance for Recreation and Education (WECARE) showed up to the hearing to express their concern and frustration at the state of the 75-acre facility, which is severely overgrown. But the magistrate said he can’t legally factor in their objections while considering the lien.

The group would like the property to stay zoned for recreational use and protested from 8-10 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. on Friday in front of the golf course.

The group has talked with the developer and refused to agree with plans to turn the area into housing. In December, the developer returned with a modified plan to designate half of the property a county park while building houses on the other half.

Some cars honked in support as Susan Prewitt explained that WECARE wants the whole area to stay recreation in whatever form that takes. All or nothing.

But the developer has already submitted plans to the county. Once the lien is removed, the project can continue toward rezoning.

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