New River Golf Course: Keiser Tries Again at Bandon State Park

Aerial photo of Keiser’s Proposed New River Golf Course. Courtesy Coos County.

Michael Keiser, the golf course developer and owner, has Bandon State Park in his sights again, as he did seven years ago. Only the details differ.

Bandon Biota LLC (a Keiser Company) has submitted an application to Coos County for a new, 300-acre golf course south of Bandon, in the New River area. It is designed to be directly adjacent to Bandon State Park along its entire length. The application describes it as a conditional use application for an 18-hole golf course, with accessory uses, including a clubhouse/restaurant with parking, a maintenance facility, a restroom/vendors facility, more restrooms, a caddy shack and a practice range.

Biota owns some 600 acres in the area, and is proposing to use about half its ownership, 300 acres, for the new golf course. All Biota’s lands, and all the surrounding lands, except Bandon State Park, are zoned Exclusive Farm Use, and most are in current or past cranberry farms. After the application was submitted in July, the county deemed it incomplete, but Bandon Biota has now provided all the additional information requested by Coos County, and the application will be coming before the Coos County planning commission soon, perhaps before the end of 2022.

In about 2013, Mr. Keiser proposed to purchase some 280 acres of Bandon State Park to incorporate into a proposed golf course in the exact same location. The deal, approved by the Parks Commission at that time, fell apart in 2015 when it was discovered that Mr. Keiser had hired a well-drilling company to enter Bandon State Park before he had any ownership rights in the property. The company dug three deep bore holes and crushed quite a bit of native forest habitat with large equipment. Publicity of Mr. Keiser’s illegal action led to the Bureau of Land Management (who holds reversionary rights on the state park if it is not used for recreation purposes) canceling the project.

Now Mr. Keiser proposes a golf course again, this time outside the state park, but directly adjacent to it, according to the map, the entire length of his ownership. ORCA opposed the first golf course Mr. Keiser proposed for this area, and we strongly oppose this one also. The narrow strip of dune and farmland between cranberry farms and a large, important state park is no place for a golf course. Not only would it have adverse effect on the habitats and fragile ecosystems of the park (which is a designated State Natural Area), but it would affect the water table in the area, which is based in sandy, porous soils, and the rural infrastructure needed to keep a vigorous farming community active.

To see and download the application: https://www.co.coos.or.us/sites/default/files/fileattachments/planning/page/23450/hbcu-22-001_bandon_biota.pdf

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