Some neighbors and residents are upset about a plan by owner Jhett Browne to sell land that was previously used for nine holes of golf, but has been closed for the past three years, to Pulte Homes. The sale would net Browne $3 million, which would go toward paying off the club’s seven-figure debt.
A plan to turn a part of the Club Rio Rancho (N.M.) golf course into a neighborhood is not sitting well with some of the community—a meeting on the issue Wednesday night ended in a shouting match, the Albuquerque, N.M.-based KRQE News 13 reported.
A few neighbors questioning what the owner of the golf course wants to do showed up and were quickly run out of the meeting. “If the club’s going to close down, I’m going to lose my job and guess what, it’s still going to get built,” a Club Rio Rancho employee said, debating the future of the city’s golf course.
Despite push-back from homeowners in the area concerned about crowding in the neighborhood and decreased property values, Club Rio Rancho owner Jhett Browne said he has to sell the old North Nine Holes in order to save the rest of the golf course, News reported.
“When that comes in, that’s going to service the debt and that will ensure that this place will be here for many years to come,” Browne said. “But they don’t seem to care about that. They care about open space in their backyard and that’s all they care about.”
Browne plans to sell for roughly $3 million to Pulte Homes, the company that wants to build homes there. “Our future’s on the line. We can’t wait any longer,” he said.
That is why he hosted a meeting on Wednesday night, calling for volunteers to join committees and organize against neighbors who’ve been fighting the home building plans. He even asked for club members and neighbors to loan money to keep the golf course running. He said he raised more than $200,000, News reported.
However, things got contentious when a few people with differing opinions showed up. Browne called them out and the crowd joined in, News reported.
“When the club shuts down, where’s your property value then?” one man asked. “We’re willing to spend almost a half a million dollars to fight you in court,” another man responded.
One man living in the North Nine area said he and his neighbors don’t want to stop development entirely. “Everyone’s trying to cordially meet in the middle somewhere,” he said.
However, that cordial meeting did not come Wednesday night. “Your shortsightedness and your lack of forethought is going to cost you so much money,” someone shouted.
The president of the North Nine Neighborhood Association said the group purposely chose not to go to the meeting although some members showed up on their own. He said the association didn’t want it to be a debate and wanted to give Browne the opportunity to make his point to neighbors before responding at a later date, News reported.