OVA Board President “Somewhat Optimistic” Regarding Possible Aid for Golf Course

Al Haggerty

In the wake of an Oakmont Village Association board workshop to discuss possible financial aid for the Oakmont Golf Club, Steve Spanier, OVA board president, told the Oakmont Newsthat he is “somewhat optimistic” that a special committee with members from the two sides can work out a mutually acceptable solution.

In his comments the day after the Oct. 2 workshop at Berger, Spanier said “a lot of hope is pinned on the new committee,” which is tasked with creating a business plan that would indicate how much money and over which time frame OGC needs the money. He said the committee would have to “provide evidence that if this business plan were implemented, OGC would return to financial stability.”  He added that the two things the community needs to justify financial aid to the OGC are:  OVA getting things of value, especially to the non-golfer, and proof that the money “doesn’t go down a black hole.”

Spanier told the ON that the committee must construct “a real business plan that we’ve never had from OGC.” He said it must show how much money they need and how it’s justified.  As a member of the OGC, Spanier has recused himself from voting on any OGC-related matter, but he said the recusal does not prevent him from discussing the issue and conducting the workshop.

Tom Kendrick, OVA vice president and a member of an executive committee examining the golf course issue, said during the workshop that his email inbox shows Oakmont residents “heavily in favor” of supporting the golf course. Nevertheless, he said the committee is looking for “more justification” and is “not there” yet.

Iris Harrell, chair of the Building Construction Committee, called the golf courses’ 250 acres of open space “precious” adding, “There must be a solution reached to not let that go.” Kathy Sowers said she is “astounded by the beauty of the golf courses” and it’s important to help.

Some proposals under discussion, Kendrick said, include the transfer of some property from the OGC to the OVA, cost sharing for flood control, the OGC providing OVA with some maintenance service and creating a non-golf OGC membership. Also mentioned was the possible purchase by OVA of the East golf course clubhouse to be used for OVA activities.

Director Marianne Neufeld said, “If the golf course needs money, they have to give us something.” Director Al Medeiros said he wouldn’t give the OGC financial aid with nothing in return.

Alan Scott, a real estate agent and former OVA board member, and Tom Woodrum focused on the effect the golf courses have on home values. Scott said the failure of the golf courses would be “a catastrophe for real estate prices.”  Woodrum said a 10 percent drop in home prices would result in $125 million in lost value for Oakmont homes. “Keep these huge numbers in mind,” he said.

Scott added that any seller may have to disclose the golf course situation to prospective buyers, making it difficult to sell homes.

Nick Beltrano, who said there could be a 19 to 30 percent cut in values if the golf courses fail, called for a resident referendum on supporting the golf courses. Herm Hermann, another former OVA board member, said a proposed five-year plan should “go to the members.”

Kendrick said any financial aid plan might not be sustainable considering that there will be four open seats on the board for next April’s election and any aid could be stopped by a new board.