Latest News

What happens when a course owner tries to sell off land to stay viable? One California town is finding out.

0

Citing the need for funding to improve the golf course and keep it financially sustainable, the owner of a golf course just outside of Oxnard, California, wants to build homes on part of the golf course.

This isn’t the only time this scenario has played out in recent years, but this example less than an hour from downtown Los Angeles is an interesting case study into what can happen when a course struggles, and what recourse local homebuyers have if their communities are drastically changed.

John Zaruka, owner of Sterling Hills Golf Club, recently submitted a request for a General Plan amendment referral to change approximately 19.83 acres of the golf course from Residential Rural Density to Residential Low-Medium.

This would increase the allowed housing units per acre from 2.5 to 5-10, allowing Zaruka to construct 79 homes on the northern perimeter of the course along Beardsley Road.

The request for a General Plan amendment referral represents a very early stage in the development process. Applicants are required to request a pre-screening from the Camarillo City Council before moving forward with the actual General Plan amendment application.

The Council will consider the referral on Jan. 27, and if they approve the referral then Zaruka can move forward with an application for a General Plan amendment. This would involve a formal review process and future public hearings.

“The key word is start. This would start our review process,” explained David Moe, Camarillo’s assistant director of community development.

Zaruka said building homes on part of the course will raise needed financial capital to make improvements to the course and keep it running for years to come. But some homeowners in the Sterling Hills community said they paid a high price for their homes with the belief that the golf course wouldn’t be developed.

“We need to make this course financially viable for the long, long-term. Anytime a golf course starts to get some age on it there are huge expenditures that need to be made. We can make it a more beautiful course and we want to save golf in Camarillo,” said Zaruka.

Members of Save Sterling Open Space, a group of homeowners that oppose the plan, said building homes on a portion of the course will impact their views, traffic and quality of life.

“If this project were to go to fruition it would cause a whole bunch of issues, 80 more homes is 160 more cars,” said Jerry Schrum, a Sterling Hills homeowner and member of Save Sterling Open Space.

“We’re on the edge of the city and are three to five miles into Camarillo. This is just not the place for moderate-density housing, it would be an additional burden on not only our community but communities between here and Camarillo.”

Zaruka said the development is needed to repay debt on the course and make it financially stable in the long-term. He cites an increasing number of golf courses that are closing nationwide as the industry declines, including Ventura County courses Mountain View and Elkins Ranch.

Planned course improvements include drought-tolerant landscaping, renovated fairways, upgraded drainage and irrigation infrastructure and repaired cart paths. The proposed housing development would provide the funds and financial stability to improve the course, according to Zaruka.

Unlike the proposed housing development at the Camarillo Springs Golf Course, which would involve reducing the number of holes from 18 to 12, Sterling Hills would remain an 18-hole course. The loss of 19 acres to homes would be accommodated by reconfiguring the course and shortening holes.

Alan Wharton, another Sterling Hills homeowner and member of Sterling Hills Open Space, is “vehemently opposed” to the plan.

Back when Sterling Hills was first developed, Wharton said he paid an additional $200,000 to live in a phase of the development that isn’t surrounded by other homes.

“I always felt secure that I could retire here and live my life to the fullest with the views that I have… This would change that very dramatically and would impact my view and move homes closer to me that aren’t even there now,” said Wharton.

Wharton and Schrum said they believed there wouldn’t be future development on the golf course because when the Sterling Hills golf course and residential development was first approved in the 1990s, a conditional-use permit said that the lots used for the golf course could only be used for golf course related uses.

Golfers play at Sterling Hills Golf Club near Beardsley Road and Calle de Debesa in Camarillo on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. John Zaruka, owner of Sterling Hills Golf Club, recently applied for a General Plan amendment to build homes on a portion of the course.

Golfers play at Sterling Hills Golf Club near Beardsley Road and Calle de Debesa in Camarillo on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. John Zaruka, owner of Sterling Hills Golf Club, recently applied for a General Plan amendment to build homes on a portion of the course.

“Zaruka is asking the City Council to renege on that commitment to homeowners, and for people who paid a premium to live in this area there would be an uncompensated loss for that kind of change in the conditional-use permit,” said Schrum.

Zaruka is hoping to get approval to change this condition. According to Moe, conditions of approval can be changed through a modification process that involves a public hearing before the Planning Commission.

Members of Save Sterling Open Space said they’re concerned that once some development is allowed on the course, this could pave the way for future development. Zaruka said he and the project’s opponents want the same thing: to keep the golf course open.

“The people that oppose this and I have the same objective, the objective is to create a nice golf course and keep it open space in perpetuity. We all agree on that, and the question is how can we keep this course financially viable,” said Zaruka.

Zaruka purchased the course in 2017 and first announced that he wanted to develop homes on part of the course in late 2018.

Last year, Zaruka proposed giving the course to the Pleasant Valley Parks and Recreation District if the Camarillo City Council allowed him to sell 15 acres of the course to a home developer.

Those plans ultimately didn’t move forward, but Zaruka said the idea of giving the course to the parks district was to show homeowners that he doesn’t plan on additional development in the future. He still wants to provide homeowners with reassurance that he won’t develop the rest of the course, which is why he said he’d include a restrictive covenant as part of the development terms.

Draft language of this restriction says that if the city approves planned changes to the golf course, then Sterling Hills would place a restrictive covenant on the golf course for a 50-year term.

The proposed covenant would require the written consent of the homeowners association to overturn.

Erin Rode covers housing, real estate and development for The Ventura County Star, part of the USA Today Network. Reach her at erin.rode@vcstar.com or 805-437-0312.

“nttntttif(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};nttttjwplayer(‘jwplayer_7NBaZ2A0_9JtFt04J_div’).setup(ntttt{“advertising”:{“admessage”:”This video will resume in xx seconds”,”bids”:{“bidders”:[{“id”:”210076″,”name”:”SpotX”},{“id”:”jrkl5-k9ohg”,”type”:”OpenRTB”,”name”:”Telaria”,”pubid”:”jrkl5-a40q0″},{“id”:”65254″,”type”:”OpenRTB”,”name”:”EMX”,”pubid”:”1081″},{“id”:”2349013″,”type”:”OpenRTB”,”name”:”PubMatic”,”pubid”:”158095″},{“id”:”b00sT1D”,”type”:”OpenRTB”,”name”:”MediaGrid”,”pubid”:”g1xAcOtC”}],”settings”:{“buckets”:[{“min”:8,”max”:20,”increment”:0.25},{“min”:20,”max”:50,”increment”:0.5}],”mediationLayerAdServer”:”dfp”,”floorPriceCents”:25}},”client”:”googima”,”cuetext”:”Advertisement”,”schedule”:[{“offset”:”pre”,”type”:”linear”,”tag”:”%%VAST_TAG%%”}],”skipmessage”:”Skip ad in xx seconds”,”vpaid_mode”:”insecure”,”vast_load_timeout”:15000,”load_video_timeout”:15000,”request_timeout”:10000,”max_redirects”:8},”autoPause”:{“viewability”:”true”},”playlist”:”https://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/7NBaZ2A0.json”,”ph”:2}nttt);nttnt”sdpJWEmbed.start();

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/01/golf-course-owner-sell-off-land-to-california/

These 20 healthy eating tips for golfers helped me lose 40 pounds

Previous article

Ringing in 2021 with a move? Check out 7 incredible golf course properties currently for sale.

Next article

You may also like

Comments

Comments are closed.

More in Latest News