When Donald Trump took over the Doral Golf Resort & Spa last year, he said he had two choices.
I can fix it and clean it and get great food and make it very nice but it can never be great, said Trump in a telephone interview Tuesday. Or, I can spend $200 million and truly make it great.
Trump, the New York developer with a penchant for making a splash, chose the latter.
One of Trumps first moves was to plant rows and rows of areca palms around the red and gold golf courses, erecting a visual buffer between the homes and greens. Trump said the trees were necessary to protect the homeowners from getting hit with golf balls and to muffle the sound of the maintenance workers.
Trump also noted the trees aesthetic value.
What happens is when you are on, as an example, the first green on the gold course, you are staring at houses with laundry hanging out their window in some cases. Its not appropriate for the finest resort in the country, Trump said.
The homeowners in the Fairway Homes community, many of whom have paid $500,000 and up to have a home with golf course view, have a decidedly different view of their homes. The community has 65 homes with golf-course views.
The homeowners association does not allow us to do that [hang laundry outside] and they are very strict about what the rules are, said Antonio Pardo, 70, a part-time resident. Its absolutely forbidden for that to happen.
The palm trees are only part of the problem, say the residents, whove complained to the city about loud, early morning noises coming from the resorts maintenance crews.
The president of the homeowners association says he regularly hears from members complaining about the noise.
They call me and send me emails to tell me, I cant sleep, Hugo Ledezma, president of the Fairway Homes of Doral Estates Homeowners Association, said at a special city council meeting Tuesday. What my residents want to hear is tomorrow morning, Can I sleep at least until 7:30?
The city council called the meeting to seek a resolution to the citys recent legal action.
On Jan. 18, the city filed an emergency motion seeking an injunction against the resort, alleging that it has continuously operated commercial noise-producing lawn mowers, blowers, chainsaws, power tools and other noise-producing tools .... between the hours of 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. on weekdays, and 6:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. on Saturdays and any time on Sundays.
The city has spent about $20,000 in legal fees on the issue.
Nobody wants a legal battle, except for attorneys, said City Manager Joe Carollo.
In November, a special magistrate found the resort committed 19 violations against the citys noise ordinance and fined it $28,500. In addition, the magistrate ordered the resort to pay $1,500 if any future violations occur.
The council on Tuesday voted unanimously to place a 30-day hold on its emergency complaint and the magistrates order, to let the city and Trump negotiate. The city has not officially served its suit on the Trump organization.
Donald Thornburgh, the resorts director of golf, said the resort has kept the same maintenance times as its previous owners, but Trump has doubled the staff size and equipment.