By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Former developers once filed restrictive covenants limiting future use of their land to a golf course. At the time, municipal and county leaders made the error of allowing this to happen. No one stopped to consider what would happen in the future, when the business model no longer works.
Decades later, thousands of golf courses across the U.S. have faced bankruptcy. Owners closed up shop and stopped maintaining the greens.
In spite of the unsightly appearance of forgotten golf courses, plenty of adjacent homeowners and their HOAs continue to fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo.
County courts deal with costly and time-consuming lawsuits.
HOAs or homeowner groups spend years trying to delay the inevitable.
Ironically, when land covenants, intended to protect property values, severely restrict land use, the result is the exact opposite — declining property values.
Three typical examples follow.
HOA vows to fight development plans for golf course (FL)
Jim Colin, the owner of Indigo Lakes golf course is floating a proposal to build 530 homes on the greens of the defunct, 43-year-old golf course, opened in 1976.
The course was purchased at a bankruptcy sale for $1.25 million in 2013 by current owner. Several years ago the once-private course was opened to the public, but didn’t generate much business.
Indigo Lakes officially closed in 2018 after damage from two hurricanes in 2016 and 2017.
Colin’s informal proposal is to build a mix of single family homes, apartments or condos, some commercial property, and a small park. The 18-hole golf course would be reduced to 9 holes, unstaffed, and no golf carts allowed.
Tentative plans for the current clubhouse, which is in a state of disrepair, include a new banquet room, and a community swimming pool.
Colin is reportedly discussing plans with Daytona Beach Commissioner Rob Gilliland. Several current former city leaders live in Indigo Lakes. The community currently consists of 650 homes, condos, and apartments, divided into 7 homeowners’ associations and a master association.
Current HOA Presidents vow to fight against redevelopment of the golf course.
Daytona golf course could see big changes (FL)
By Eileen Zaffiro-Kean. Daytona Beach News Journal
Posted May 28, 2019 at 12:26 PM | Updated May 28, 2019 at 12:26 PM
Lawsuit alleging consumer fraud to continue against former golf course owner (NJ)
Eagle Ridge Golf Club, and the future of its golf course, are the subject of two pending lawsuits.
The latest Ocean County ruling in one lawsuit dismissed two developers, GDMS Holdings LLC and Augusta Holdings LLC, from the consumer fraud complaints brought by more than 600 homeowners last year. However, Superior Court Judge Mark A. Troncone said that the lawsuit can proceed against the original builder of Fairways at Lake Ridge, the Kokes family.
Homeowners contend that, until 2017, the golf course was presented to home buyers as part of the community association. In fact, the golf course was always a separate legal and corporate entity.
Owners say they paid up to $75,000 in premiums to purchase properties with a view of the golf course — something they would not have done, had they known the golf course could be sold and redeveloped in the future.
The Kokes sold the land to GDMS Holdings, the Plaintiffs say, without preserving land use covenants to maintain the golf course.
The Fairways at Lake Ridge HOA previously sued GDMS Holdings and Lakewood Township in January 2018, alleging conflicts of interest in the Township’s development plan approval. GDMS plans to build a high density community of 556 duplex homes with basement apartment units on the 27-hole golf course.
Homeowners hope to stop development, or, if construction moves forward as planned, to be compensated for their loss of home values.
Ronald L. Lueddeke, Spring Lake lawyer is representing Fairways homeowners.
Lakewood housing: Judge says Fairways developer sent ‘mixed messages’ to buyers
Stacey Barchenger, Asbury Park Press | Published 6:04 a.m. ET May 28, 2019 | Updated 10:04 a.m. ET May 28, 2019
Once a golf course, always a golf course? (AZ)
The legal battle continues, as land owner, Wilson Gee, asks the courts to rule that deed restrictions limiting use of property to a golf courts violates the 13th Amendment by creating ‘involuntary servitude.’
Gee says it’s unconstitutional to force him to operate a business on his land. He closed the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course in 2013, saying the business was no longer profitable.
He later sold the property to True Life Companies in 2015. But the buyer backed out of the deal in 2016, when its plans to covert the golf course to an ‘agri-hood’ failed to garner enough supporting votes from homeowners in the HOA-governed community.
Last year, the property reverted back to Gee. True Life still owes $165,000 in code violation fees for allowing the golf course to go to seed and collect debris.
An Ahwatukee homeowner-led coalition, Save the Lakes, reportedly refused to accept a settlement offer from Gee, in return for dropping their lawsuit.
Lawyer: True Life not active in Lakes case
By PAUL MARYNIAK AFN Executive Editor
May 15, 2019