Lewis Proposing Replacing RC Golf Course With 4,000 Residential Units

Property that for three generations consisted of a vineyard and was later converted to a munitions plant that turned out the shoulder launched missiles transported across the globe to be filtered into Afghanistan to assist the Mujahideen in driving the Soviets out of their country and then was converted to a golf course will be transformed into a retail and residential development, according to a proposal by the Lewis Group of Companies.
The Lewis Group of Companies, the corporate successor to Lewis Homes, is seeking clearance from the city of Rancho Cucamonga to redevelop Empire Lakes golf course, which lies north and south of 6th Street between Milliken and Cleveland avenues in the southern Rancho Cucamonga. The Lewis Group of Companies is interested in developing the southern portion of the golf course into a mixed-use community with 2,500 to 4,000 rental and for-sale units, with retail space, according to the city.
The most likely inhabitants of the town home/condominiums envisaged in the project will be young and most likely unmarried professionals along with retired couples, widows or widowers. The housing is not likely to be well suited for families.
The city of Rancho Cucamonga has a history of working with the Lewis Group of Companies. Though the property is still in escrow, opposition to the project is growing and official approval of the plan has not been given, the city’s planning division is moving forward with facilitating the project by carrying out a preliminary environmental impact study to determine whether a zone-change amendment allowing the golf course land to be made over into a mixed-used zone is something that can be done without a full-blown
environmental impact report by means of what is termed a negative declaration of environmental impacts. That the city will simply brush aside the protests and objections to the project when its application comes before the planning commission and city council sometime in the spring or early summer is a foregone conclusion.
Those taking issue with project are golfers, many of whom have been using the facility which was designed by Arnold Palmer, since it was established by General Dynamics in 1996. General Dynamics had shuttered a facility it had built there in the mid-1980s to construct the Stinger Missile. By the mid-1990s, the post Glasnost and post-Perestroika eras were at hand. General Dynamics no longer had a pressing use for the plant. Moreover, the continued existence of a Cold War munitions plant in Rancho Cucamonga, a city which was growing dynamically at the time, was thought to be a potential hindrance to investment, as it stood as a monument to an effort that had contributed to the deaths of hundreds of Soviet soldiers and airmen. In a gesture of international good will, the building was razed and a golf course, with peaceful fairways and grand vistas of the entire valley, including the San Gabriel Mountains to the north, the San Bernardino Mountains and Mt. San Gorgonio to the east, and the distant Cleveland National Forest to the south, was created in its place.
Golfers, including a group of sight-impaired and physically disabled who have a golf program at Empire Lakes, have undertaken an effort to convince the city and the course’s ownership to preserve the golf course. They are seeking individuals willing to take a stand against the project by signing an online petition at saveempirelakes.com.
The plan will be given a public preview during a public hearing before the planning commission at Rancho Cucamonga City Hall at 7 p.m. on November 10.

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