Now that the Academy has taken control of the Deer Ridge Golf Club that permanently closed in 2019, work is beginning to accelerate on planning an adaptive reuse of the approximately 190-acre property. The City Planning Director will be hosting a Town Hall meeting later this week for interested local residents, with the goal of gathering community input on two preliminary site plans the Academy submitted for replacing the uneconomic golf course with a more financially and environmentally sustainable open space use. This community feedback, combined with input from the various City operating departments, will help frame the City’s response to the Preliminary Application we submitted in February, and enable the Academy to prepare and submit a Formal Application for the development.
If things go well, we’re hoping to have a green light by early this fall to replace the former fairways, bunkers, and greens with visually appealing open space uses that consume less water, require no toxic chemicals or fossil fuels-based fertilizer, and employ electric and fuel cell vehicles for GHG-free maintenance. Our plans also call for creating a demonstration center that will help educate homeowners, students, legislators, business leaders, and the media about the cost savings, added reliability, and CO2 reduction that is possible with green microgrids. Located mid-way between Sacramento, CA and Silicon Valley, and with a delightful blend of city life and country living, Brentwood is the ideal location to showcase these important lessons for other communities weighing the advantages of fully renewable, interconnected, and distributed energy systems, as well as overcoming the loss of a golf course amenity.
In the meantime, while we work on the broader rights, the Academy has engaged the City’s largest architectural firm, SDG Architects, to assist in planning a reopening of the former clubhouse as a first phase of the new development. Like many cities across the U.S. where a golf course has permanently closed down and a developer has sought to rezone the land for a use that was strongly opposed by the surrounding neighborhood, resentment and distrust must be overcome through a series of positive actions. The Academy has already begun to resolve longstanding code violations and to harmonize the Academy’s mission-driven goals of demonstrating sustainable practices with the aesthetic sensibilities of the community. Thus, rather than wait for final approval of the overall plan, the Academy is exploring ways to open a full-service restaurant under the property’s existing zoning and is currently in discussions with several well-known operators who enjoy a strong local reputation for providing consistently outstanding food and service.
We remain convinced that Brentwood, CA is an ideal place to demonstrate the value of the sustainable practices and common-sense business philosophy that have long been the hallmark of the Academy’s work. We view the opportunity to “break bread” in a high-quality family-friendly environment as the ideal use for channeling the power of the sun into a brighter long-term future for all the residents of Deer Ridge, Brentwood, the State, and planet.