Oakmont Golf Decisions Focus on Aug. 6 and Aug. 8

Staff Report

An election determining whether Oakmont backs a dues increase to equip its board to negotiate to buy the Oakmont Golf Club comes to a close Thursday, Aug. 8. That’s two days after OGC hopes its members will have voted on a letter of intent the two have signed to pursue a deal.

Enough OVA ballots were in hand two weeks before OVA dues election to reach a quorum. A majority of votes is required for approval.

The golf club board told its members July 19 it had agreed to negotiate exclusively with OVA. The OGC’s requirements include member approval of a proposed sale, and it said it that could come at a golf club membership meeting Tuesday, Aug. 6. At least 25% of the golf club’s some 260 members must vote, with 60% approval required.

Meanwhile, the OVA ballot asks approval for raising dues a maximum of $23, from $75 to $98 a month. That includes $17 for golf and $6 for next year’s OVA operations.

State law mandates an election to approve a dues increase of more than 20%.

Community interest has been reflected in high turnout at town hall meetings, door-to-door campaigning and postings on social media.

The deadline to return OVA ballots by mail is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7. Ballots also may be delivered in person at a membership meeting Thursday, Aug. 8 at 1 p.m. in the Berger Center. They will be counted there and results will be announced at 4 p.m.

Failure of the dues increase would not make acquiring the golf club impossible, but it would be more difficult. The letter of intent is the first step in a process that could take months to complete.

At stake is the future of 250 acres of land running through Oakmont and including two 18-hole golf courses, the Quail Inn and two clubhouses.

The golf club board said OVA’s proposal best meets criteria its members identified, including maintaining 36 holes of golf.

There were other expressions of interest. One did not end in an offer, and other potential buyers included “some element of housing” in their plans, OGC said.

The club said it found “the prevailing view of the value of our property is one of rezone, sub-divide and develop. It makes little difference that it might take ten years to get there. Real estate development is a long game.”

OVA’s board entered the market after the financially pressed OGC put itself up for sale earlier this year at an asking price of $4.8 million. The amount and terms of the OVA’s offer have not been disclosed.

OVA has said it would not operate the golf club itself, but enter into a 30-year lease agreement with an experienced operator, Advance Golf Partners. The company would be responsible for operating costs and invest just over $3 million over 10 years to upgrade food and beverage and golf operations.

The election is only Oakmont’s second community-wide vote in its 55 years. In 1989 Oakmont members rejected a special assessment of $1,500 to allow OVA to buy the golf courses. It failed by some 300 out of more than 2,400 votes.