CEDAR HILLS — Cedar Hills' plan to pay off a $6 million golf course debt by allowing the annexation of part of the course in order to develop a subdivision and reception center has hit a snag.

After the City Council gave initial approval for the project last month, the developer recently approached the city and said that the man who was initially interested in building the reception center no longer wants to be involved in the project, Mayor Michael McGee said.

McGee said he reached out to the proposed reception center owner to find out why he had changed his mind.

"His explanation was that as they walked it with an engineer they didn't feel like the configuration of the lot was going to be like they envisioned," said McGee. "So I asked him, 'Does that mean you are no longer interested in the site?' and he said, 'That is what it means."'

Somewhere along the line there was, according to staff, some miscommunication about what the site looked like and whether the developers were ready to move forward.

"It is a blow, but it is not an insurmountable blow," City Manager Konrad Hildebrandt said.

Members of the City Council voiced their frustration during a meeting this week. Many of them thought this was nearly a done deal.

"Every single time we have headed down a path that has required performance from a third party it has resulted in months and months of delay, plus cost and staff time," Councilman Jim Perry said.

The mayor and city staff alluded that putting a bid out to make the area residential might be in the best interest of the city.

Everyone seemed to agree that they needed to have a firm contract and a deposit before moving forward with the first developer or any other that might bid on the land.

"I don't see how we would invest in other options when we don't know if they won't miscommunicate again," Perry said.

The city will now investigate different development options in the coming weeks in hopes of coming to a conclusion that could go to the Planning Commission at the end of the month.

McGee, who was also upset by the roadblock, wanted everyone to know how important this issue is to him.

"I am still every bit as committed as I ever was to pay off the golf course debt," he said. "Plan A didn't work out, but Plan B is to go all residential, and with that view I am pretty sure that it will be a pretty hot commodity for residential development."

E-mail: [email protected]