The Creekside Homeowners Association filed suit against the Salem, Ore., club in April, seeking to prevent the property from being sold to developers. The countersuit asks the judge to rule that the property can be sold for development, and to order the 588 homeowners to pay their legal fees.
Legal wrangling over the future of Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore., is intensifying, the Salem-based Statesman Journal reported.
Last week, the golf course’s owners filed a countersuit against neighboring homeowners who have asked a judge to prevent owners from closing the club and selling the property to developers. In a lawsuit filed in April, the Creekside Homeowners Association said the club’s owners have a contractual obligation to keep the course open, the Journal reported.
In their countersuit, club owners have asked the judge to rule that the property can be sold for development, and to order the 588 homeowners to pay their legal fees, the Journal reported.
“They are asking for the judge to say they can use the property as they wish, but that’s been their position all along,” said T. Beau Ellis, the lawyer for the homeowners association. “This doesn’t change anything for the association. We’re going to pursue the claim as we presented it.”
The golf course and the neighborhood were created together in the early 1990s by the same developer, a partnership that included Salem developer Larry Tokarski’s Mountain West Investments. Tokarski currently owns the golf course property, and co-owns the club along with developer Terry Kelly and club manager Tom Whitaker, the Journal reported.
Whitaker did not respond to a request for an interview. Both sides agree that the two entities are bound by a set of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CCRs) recorded in 1992, the legal filings show, but they differ on its interpretation, the Journal reported.
Homeowners claim that the CCRs require a golf course be sited on the property and be properly maintained. They say that by selling homes in a “golf course community,” the developers created an “equitable servitude” that burdens the property, the Journal reported.
The club’s owners say the document allows them to close the course or convert the property to other uses. In February, Whitaker announced plans to close the club unless homeowners voted to triple their monthly association fees in exchange for social memberships in the club. That plan fell through, but golf club members kept the club open for now by agreeing to increase their dues, contribute one-time payments and recruit voluntary social members, the Journal reported.