Vista Valencia Golf Course fined $100 for stinky pond now drained completely

Vista Valencia Golf Course pond after three days of draining last week. courtesy photo.

After multiple neighbors’ complaints about the stink of a stagnant golf course water hazard, and news last week of on-again off-again draining of the pond, City of Santa Clarita code enforcement officers issued a $100 fine Monday against the golf course for having failed to maintain the pond as ordered.

“We issued a notice of violation on Aug. 1 for neglecting the pond,” Dan Rivas, community preservation manager for the city of Santa Clarita, said late Monday afternoon.

“Our code enforcement team went out to inspect the pond Saturday and observed the stagnant water was still there. They did not comply so we did issue a citation (fine) Monday,” Rivas said.

On Sunday, after county officials including Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger spoke with concerned residents and golf course managers, the pond was drained completely.

Rivas visited the golf course Monday and found “a little puddle” but noted that the pond had been drained.

What concerned residents, however, was how the remaining 150,000 gallons were removed from the pond after pressure had been brought to bear on the owners.

Instead of transferring the dirty water into trucks as the golf course workers did for three days last week in order to satisfy a county Public Health Department order, they transferred the water from the unfiltered pond to nearby solid ground on property owned by the golf course.

“We didn’t know how they were going to do it, but they did,” said Erick Matos, Barger’s public health deputy.

“The community identified a nuisance and wanted to make it go away,” he said. “Our directive was ‘fix the problem.’

“We’ve been out in front of this issue,” said Matos, who inspected the golf course Saturday. “We are committed to ensuring the community’s concerns are addressed and taken care of expeditiously.”

Barger sent a message to residents via social media at 7:43 a.m. Sunday, saying: “My staff was out there yesterday with Public Health staff and toured, smelled and talked to management.

“The amount of water needed to be drained was twice (I think) the amount they originally estimated, which is why it is taking longer. It will be completed no later than Wednesday. Once drained, it will dry and smell will stop,” Barger said in her Facebook post.

Code enforcement officers with the city are expected to visit the golf course on Aug. 19 to see if the pond has been cleaned up. If not, the golf course faces another fine of an additional $100, Rivas said.

Rand Huguely, spokesman for American Golf Corp., which owns Vista Valencia, had reported continued cooperation with public health officials last week, said Monday he will “reach out when I have more information.”

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