By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Legal battle over former Badlands golf course in Las Vegas redevelopment heats up; Judge reject’s Kentucky HOA’s residential rezoning appeal; Florida CDDs buy golf course from developer; steep increase in golf fees in The Villages.
City of Las Vegas fighting expensive legal battle over future of former Badlands golf course
Due to contentious local politics and a federal lawsuit between the City of Las Vegas and developer Yohan Lowie (EHB Companies), the former Badlands golf course remains in limbo.
The golf course is located near Summerlin and adjacent to the Queensridge estate home community.
Haven for vagrants
Since Badland’s golf course closure more than three years ago, the area has become an unattractive wasteland.
At night, security cameras document suspicious activity in two large box culverts on the property. The dry culverts have become a favorite hangout for vagrants and the homeless.
The Badlands is owned by Lowie, a developer who has proposed plans to transform the former golf course into a community of very high end luxury homes on large lots.
But Queensridge property owners, many of them well-known wealthy gaming magnates in Las Vegas, strongly oppose new development. Homeowners say they paid a premium price to live near the open space of the golf course, and they wish to maintain their privacy.
Last year, KTNV reported on Las Vegas City Council’s role in the Badlands controversy. Council members Bob Coffin and Steve Seroka have voted against Lowie’s development plans, prompting the developer to sue the city in Federal Court, for taking away his property rights.
Lowie considers Coffin and Seroka to be puppets of a few wealthy and influential Queensridge property owners. His legal complaint includes disturbing evidence of Coffin using profanities and ethnic slurs in his communications with and about Lowie.
Lowie also objects to City Council’s current Open Space Ordinance. It requires substantial homeowner participation in redevelopment of open space, including the former Badlands golf course. Lowie believes the ordinance is onerous, and designed specifically to prevent him from redeveloping the Badlands.
New “Open Space” ordinance proposed
But political winds of change are blowing. In 2018, Seroka was voted out of office and replaced by Councilwoman Victoria Seaman. Seaman has proposed a more relaxed open space ordinance, and supports repealing the current, more stringent ordinance.
Seaman’s critics accuse her, and other Council members favoring appeal, of showing favoritism toward developers like EHB.
Meanwhile, the city has already spent $2 million fighting against Lowie, and plans to continue using taxpayer dollars to prevent developing the Badlands.
Las Vegas City Council will meet later this month to consider repeal of its Open Space ordinance, and possible adoption of a new ordinance that limits the scope of homeowner participation in the redevelopment approval process for open spaces, including former golf courses.
At the state level, in spring of 2019, Nevada Senate voted in favor of a bill that would require developers to compensate adjacent “golf course view” homeowners for loss of property value due to redevelopment. Under pressure from real estate lobbies, SB251 stalled in the Assembly.
In the meantime, the aptly name Badlands may continue its decline.
Ward 2 meeting on open space ordinance draws a large, frustrated crowd
By Miranda Willson, Las Vegas Sun | Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019 | 9:30 p.m.
Las Vegas’ Seaman renews effort to repeal predecessor’s golf course ordinance
By Miranda Willson | Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Badlands becoming wasteland, haven for crime as property held in limbo
Taxpayers funding battle over private property
By: Darcy Spears | KTNV 13 Investigates
Posted: 5:30 PM, Sep 23, 2019 | Updated: 11:21 PM, Sep 23, 2019
The bad side of Las Vegas politics: Battle over Badlands
Posted: 1:04 PM, Oct 12, 2018 | Updated: 4:56 PM, Nov 21, 2018
By: Darcy Spears |KTNV 13 Investigates
Read more golf course community updates on IAC
Woodlawn Golf Springs gets green light to redevelop former golf course
It appears that a 2-year legal battle between Woodlawn Springs HOA and Chris Osborne, owner of Woodlawn Golf Springs LLC, is over.
Woodlawn Springs was developed in 1994 and 1995 as a 250-home common interest community, surrounding an 18-hole golf course.
The Osborne family has owned the 140-acre golf course since 2004, but decided to close the course several years ago. Like many other golf businesses in the U.S., dwindling interest in the sport made it unprofitable to continue operating the club and golf course.
Osborne offered to sell his golf course to the Woodlawn Springs HOA, but homeowners ultimately voted against the purchase.
In 2017, Nelson County commission approved the Osborne family’s request to rezone Woodlawn Springs golf course for residential development of townhouses and condominiums.
Predictably, Woodlawn Springs Homeowners Association appealed the rezoning.
HOA appeal fails
A special judge was appointed to hear the HOA’s appeal.
In November, Steve Alan Wilson of Bowling Green ruled in favor of the County Commission’s Rezoning approval process. That means Osborne can proceed with the family’s plan to build homes on the former golf course.
In his opinion, Judge Wilson wrote that Woodlawn Springs homeowners cannot force the landowners to operate a failing golf course. He also wrote that members of the HOA had no right to reap the benefits of a golf course, especially if they are not willing to financially support it.
Judge denies Woodlawn Springs homeowners’ appeal
By Forrest Berkshire, Editor
Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 6:57 pm
Lake Ashton CDDs to buy golf course, homeowners to repay loan extended by developer
Larry Maxwell began developing the Lake Ashton retirement community 20 years ago. Now fully built out wiith 1,650 homes, the subdivision spans portions of the cities of Lake Wales and of Winter Haven.
Now that’s he done building homes, Maxwell has decided to get out of the golf business. He offered to sell the golf course to Ashton Lakes for $477,000. And he’s even willing to finance the purchase with a loan.
Maxwell assures homeowners they will be able to repay the loan with profits from operating the golf course.
However, for the past year, the community has been divided on the issue of purchasing Ashton Lakes golf course from Maxwell.
Older residents who don’t play golf much anymore didn’t want to pay additional CDD fees to support the golf course. Younger owners who enjoy golfing, or want to preserve their property values, were more than willing to accept Maxwell’s offer.
Owners in favor of the purchase outnumber those who don’t.
Two Community Development Districts manage Lake Ashton, one representing owners in Lake Wales, the other CDD representing owners in Winter Haven.
Most of the owners in Lake Ashton Community Development District II voted in favor of buying the golf course for $477,000.
According to the Winter Haven Sun, Lake Ashton Community Development District I will contribute $230,000 to CDD II, to “keep equal access to the golf courses, but not take ownership risks.”
But, what if Lake Ashton’s golf course doesn’t turn a profit?
In that case, the CDDs may have to raise taxes to repay Maxwell’s loan.
If that happens, homeowners who don’t golf will be paying taxes to subsidize golfers. That’s a sure fire recipe for more neighborhood conflict.
Lake Ashton residents to purchase development’s golf courses
By CHARLES A. BAKER III, Winter Haven Sun
Dec 18, 2019 Updated Dec 27, 2019
Residents of The Villages to pay up to $48 in additional golf fees at top-level courses
Remember when TV ads for Florida’s Friendliest Home Town advertised that Villagers could golf for free?
Well, that only applies to The Villages 40 Executive Golf courses.
Starting this month, Villagers and their guest pay hefty fees to play any of the 12 Championship golf courses.
Prior to January 1, 2020, Championship golf rates were discounted for afternoon and evening play. But now golfers will pay one standard rate, no matter the tee time.
The Villages-News reports that golf fees have increased 36 to 75 percent for 2020. That may prompt residents to venture outside The Villages to play other Championship golf courses in Florida.
See the source article for full details on rate increases.
Villagers facing hefty increases in fees to play championship courses
By Larry D. Croom- Villages-news.com
December 14, 2019 ♦