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The city is working on an environmental impact statement addressing a proposed upgrade to the Lake Chabot Golf Course by KSL Recreation Corp., owner of the nearby Claremont Hotel & Spa in Berkeley.

KSL is offering to pay $12.5 million of the $15 million project in hopes that it will lead to approvals to add 100 rooms to the Claremont, a plan that has raised the ire of nearby residents concerned about traffic, among other things.

Local golfers also have opposed the golf course upgrade because it would push greens fees from as little as $12 course to right around $100. The city defends the deal, saying a new public course is being built across town that will be reasonably priced, and that arrangements are being made to ensure Oakland residents pay discounted greens fees at the upgraded Chabot course.

Of course this was all supposed to happen a little faster. When city officials obtained approval from the City Council to begin exclusive negotiations with KSL, golf course operators canceled tournaments and other events at Chabot this summer in anticipation of the greens being taken over by work crews.

Public concern, however, has prompted city and KSL executives to spend more time and resources on the front end to lower the likelihood that the projects become tied up in litigation. The environmental report has been delayed roughly six months to give consultants time to broaden it to withstand most conceivable critiques. September is the new tentative release date for the document.

Community members will be able to review and comment on the report before a final version is submitted to parks and recreation commission members, in late October or early November. Commissioners then will decide whether to endorse a conditional use permit needed for the project, which would then continue on to the Planning Commission and the City Council.

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