But the years’ long battle over redevelopment of Creekside Golf Club is not over yet
By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Hundreds of golf courses across the U.S. are struggling to remain profitable, a market trend that has been widely reported for several years. A combination of factors have led to golf’s decline.
Fewer Americans are playing the game. As baby boomers age, spending four hours on a golf course becomes too tiring. Working adults rarely find the time to play, while middle class families simply cannot afford the expensive equipment and greens fees. Younger generations view golf as old-fashioned or too formal and snooty for their tastes.
Too many golf courses. In the 1990s, when golf was far more popular, real estate developers competed for homebuyers by building elaborate golf courses in planned communities. For more than a decade, it allowed home builders to sell new homes at premium prices. But it also resulted in an oversupply of golf courses and country clubs, which became apparent in the recession that began in 2007. The number of golf players took a nosedive, especially in planned communities with struggling homeowners’ associations. Some golfers returned to the game as the economy began to recover, but most had lost interest in the sport.
Golf seen by some as environmentally, socially irresponsible. Younger generations are especially concerned that golf courses waste precious water to remain lush and attractive. They also require frequent lawn and landscape chemical treatments to keep the fairways and greens healthy and playable. So it’s not surprising that maintenance of a golf course is very costly, and, as a result, membership fees in private golf clubs surrounded by common interest communities are quite pricey. Golf has always been a sport for the wealthy, and the allure of the game to middle class players in the 1990s and early 2000s has faded, returning golf courses to the realm of the elite class.
Here on IAC, I have posted dozens of reports of association-governed communities coming to terms with golf course closures and redevelopment.
But the story of one Oregon golf community stands out as particularly insane.
When the owners of Creekside Golf Course decided to get out of the golf business and redevelop the land, some members of the HOA decided to sue the new owners, in hopes of preventing them from redeveloping the golf course as yet another planned community with 354 homes, with its own HOA.
Homeowners argued in their lawsuit that, when they purchased their homes, they were promised a golf course, and they wanted no part of change. They claimed that their Covenants and Restrictions (CC&Rs) required the land to remain a golf course forever.
But golf course owners, Larry Tokarski and Terry Kelly, expected to create a new subdivision within Creekside. They wanted to recoup their financial investment. They argued that they could not make much profit, if any, operating Creekside Golf Course.
After several years back and forth in the courts, the developers ultimately prevailed when a judge agreed that the CC&Rs did not limit the owners’ rights to redevelop the land for other uses.
Now the HOA owes more than $422,000 to Tokarski and Kelly, plus another quarter of a million dollars to their own attorney.
According to the Statesman Journal, each parcel faces a lien of $1,127 to cover the legal bills.
And it clears the way for new homes to be constructed on the golf course.
The original lawsuit led to a second lawsuit – still pending – brought by Tokarski and Kelly against Creekside HOA board members. Tokarski and Kelly are also homeowners in Creekside HOA, and they claim that the HOA board — made up of owners of homes directly adjacent to the golf course — acted in their own self-interest by suing the developers, using HOA funds to promote their personal agenda.
Unfortunately, according to the report, the lawsuit claims that the legal battle has bankrupted the association, and has led to increased HOA assessments. Tokarski and Kelly seek reimbursement of the association and its homeowners by HOA board members responsible for pushing forward with their lawsuit.
It’s another clear example of how an HOA fails to protect property values.
Creekside Homeowners Association owes developers $422,789
The golf club’s owners – developers Larry Tokarski and Terry Kelly – are entitled to be reimbursed for their legal fees, a judge recently ruled.
— Read on www.statesmanjournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2018/04/19/creekside-homeowners-association-owes-golf-course-owners-422-789-after-failed-lawsuit/530225002/
Why golf is in decline in America (The Economist)