By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Legal battles between golf-lovers, their non-golfing neighbors, golf course owners, and local governments rage on
Government getting into the luxury golf business
While the city of Boca Raton is entertaining offers to sell its municipal golf course to developers, the Beach and Park District is hoping to buy the Ocean Breeze Golf and Country Club.
City considers plans to buy closed golf course from Lennar (FL)
Mar 2, 2017, 11:31am EST
South Florida Business Journal
The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District wants to buy a closed golf course from Lennar Corp., which had intended to develop it.
The 202-acre Ocean Breeze Golf & Country Club at 5801 N.W. 2nd Ave., within the Boca Teeca neighborhood, was seized in foreclosure by Wells Fargo Bank in 2016. The bank closed the golf course. Miami-based Lennar (NYSE: LEN) has the property under contract from Wells Fargo. However, a deed restriction requires that Ocean Breeze must remain a golf course unless 50 percent of Boca Teeca residents approve another usage.
The long defunct golf course sits adjacent to Boca Teeca Condominiums, whose association members would have to agree to do away with the deed restriction limiting use of the land to a golf course.
Faced with opposition by condo owners, The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District is seriously considering the purchase of Ocean Breeze Golf & Country Club, and they even propose creating a golf academy to teach youths how to play the game. You can check out the architectural plans in this slick promo video.
District residents, if this sale goes through, prepare to pay higher taxes. It is going to cost up to $36 million to acquire and refurbish the property.
But I guess that is one way that golf-loving condo owners get to keep their golf course, without having to pay for it all by themselves.
A more recent report in the Sun Sentinel confirms that Boca Raton Beach and Park District is moving forward with its plans to purchase Ocean Breeze. Meanwhile, the City of Tamarac recently purchased Colony West Golf Course for $4 million, and plans to invest more than $7 million to bring it up to par.
Developers with big plans to convert golf courses to other uses
The True Life Companies (TTLC) legal battle to convert an Ahwatukee community golf course to an Agrihood continues. The developer has been ordered to restore the golf course, as required by current deed restrictions. However, TTLC has filed a request for a court order to change the CC&Rs without requiring a vote of 51% of homeowners.
CEO Adrain Barry argues that neither his company nor any other buyer can be expected to operate a golf business that is not economically viable.
If this argument is successful, then would homeowners in Arizona, and potentially other states, be able to make the same argument with regard to their corporate associations, should they become economically unviable, and with no interested developers willing to revive the HOAs or the underlying covenants?
True Life asks court to change golf course regs (AZ)
By Paul Maryniak, AFN Executive Editor Apr 26, 2017
The 101-acre Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course has been closed since 2013 and owner True Life Companies wants to turn it into an “agrihood” with a farm, about 270 homes and other amenities.
The True Life Companies has turned to state Superior Court for help in changing the land-use regulations governing Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course.
Ahwatukee Lakes homeowners fighting for restoration of the course said the company is raising a white flag in its effort to win their neighbors’ votes to change the site’s covenants, conditions and restrictions.
A True Life executive said that its campaign for homeowner approval will continue. But he also said it’s time for a court to rule that “nobody is going to spend the necessary money to try to operate a stand-alone golf course on the property when it will fail again economically.”
“Given the fact that operating a golf course on this specific property is not economically viable and given the large investment that would have to occur to re-construct the golf course, TTLC does not believe any reasonable owner/ investor of the property would or could operate a stand-alone golf course on the property,” [Adrain] Barry said.
“Thus, given the status of the property (as a failed business and a closed golf course), the original purpose of the restriction cannot be realized,” he added. “Thus, the CC&R’s need to be modified.”
Looks like Woodmont Country Club will be selling 9 holes of its 18-hole Pine course to Pulte Group to construct 152 homes priced between $400,000 – $500,000. The remaining 9 holes will be restored, according the following Sun Sentinel Report.
Judge’s ruling clears way for 152 homes to be built on Tamarac golf course (FL)
Five-year-old suit dismissed, paves way for construction
Lisa J. Huriash
Broward Circuit Court judge has handed the owner of Tamarac’s Woodmont Country Club a legal victory, clearing the way for 152 houses to be built on the now-closed golf course.
“It’s the right thing at the right time in the right community,” said Woodmont owner Mark Schmidt. Developers “expect to be sold out very quickly.”
The 2012 lawsuit, settled and then revived in 2014, alleged Woodmont had a contractual obligation to sell the home lots to developer Zaveco. But Broward Circuit Judge Sandra Perlman ruled April 27 that Woodmont validly terminated its agreement.
Creekside Golf Course owner has plans to develop 354 homes, and that plan has moved one step closer to reality, following a recent court ruling that will allow a change in land use for the financially troubled golf course. However, Creekside HOA is reportedly considering an appeal.
Judge: Creekside Golf Club can close, be turned into housing (OR)
Tracy Loew , Statesman Journal Published 10:00 a.m. PT May 26, 2017 | Updated 4:03 p.m. PT May 26, 2017
Creekside Golf Club’s neighbors have lost a year-long legal battle to keep the 18-hole championship course from closing and being developed into housing.
A post on the Creekside Homeowners Association’s web site said its board disagrees with the ruling and is considering an appeal. The association budgeted $240,000 for legal costs this year, nearly half its total budget.
Board member Don Wildfang declined to comment.
Golf club owner Larry Tokarski, through his lawyer, declined to comment on the court decision or on future development plans for the course, which remains open for the time being.
Golf courses in legal limbo
When golf courses close, adjacent property owners suffer the adverse effects. And it’s not just an eyesore. Overgrown fields and meadows attract rodents, snakes, and predatory wildlife. Weeds germinate in the back yard and dry grass and brush poses a fire hazard. Trespassers can become a problem, too.
A homeowners association in Petaluma, CA, is currently involved in discussions over what to do with Adobe Creek, a public golf course adjacent to their properties that closed about 6 months ago. Both the City and the County govern portions of golf course land owned by Adobe Creek Investments, LLC. According to reports, City officials are not interested in owning another public golf course.
But, at this time, neither the HOA nor the City are discussing their plans and alternatives publicly.
Closed Adobe Creek golf course in rough times (Petaluma, CA)
ARGUS-COURIER STAFF | June 3, 2017, 12:01AM
When Robert DeCelles bought his home adjacent to the Adobe Creek Golf Course in east Petaluma, he savored his picturesque view on the fourth fairway of the verdant green links.
Now, as he sits on his patio on the late spring evenings, it’s not uncommon to see rats skittering along the fence line that divides his home from a course that he says is overgrown with weeds. Those rodents have infested his property and even his car’s engine compartment. An $850 pest removal bill came amid his growing unease about the fate of the now closed golf course that has become a neighborhood blight.
“It’s pretty god awful,” DeCelles said as he listed additional concerns about fire danger, property values and other vermin, like skunks, that have become an unwelcome addition to his backyard.
DeCelles’ home is among 320 residences in the Adobe Creek Homeowners Association, a community in flux after the Adobe Creek Golf Course closed Jan. 1 because of declining business. Six months after the 18-hole course owned by Adobe Investments, LLC shut down, the future of the 100-acre property remains uncertain. The land is split between the city and the county’s jurisdiction, and is entangled in a complex web of regulatory and land use hurdles.
Residents of Windmere HOA are disappointed that the Windmere Country Club closed in 2016. And Orange County Commission seems uninterested in Bryan DeCunha’s grand plans to redevelop Windmere golf course into 95 executive single family homes. The County owns development rights, and has denied transferring them to DeCunha. DeCunha vows to battle for his property rights in court, even if it takes 10 years.
Lines in the sand trap (FL)
Windermere Country Club owner Bryan DeCunha closed the club in April 2016.
WINDERMERE OBSERVER FRIDAY, JUN. 2, 2017
Even after Orange County denied a transfer of development rights, Windermere Club owner Bryan DeCunha maintains the only possible outcome for the shuttered course is development. The residents’ response: “Hell no, we won’t go.”
For its owner, Bryan DeCunha, the darkened clubhouse and fading scoreboard are mere relics of a vibrant club that exhaled its last breath long ago. They are evidence of a failed business in a declining industry.
But, his plan to redevelop the club into additional homes has been met with resistance from residents, culminating on Oct. 18, 2016, when the Orange County Commission denied transfer of the county-owned development rights of the golf course — rights DeCunha needs to rezone the golf course for development.