The Creekside Homeowners Association has asked a judge to stop the Salem, Ore., club’s owners’ plans to close and subdivide the 18-hole championship golf course. The HOA argues the plan would violate the covenants, conditions and restrictions recorded in 1992 that binded homeowners and golf course owners.
Neighbors of Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore., have asked a judge to stop its owners’ plans to close and subdivide the 18-hole championship course, the Salem-based Statesman Journal reported.
“The course was a key selling point for the lots within the community, and induced association members to purchase homes at Creekside,” lawyers for the Creekside Homeowners Association wrote in a complaint filed Monday in Marion County Circuit Court.
“The homeowners association is merely enforcing the contractual promises made to the community by the original developers.” said T. Beau Ellis, the association’s lawyer.
The controversy began in April 2015, when the club’s owners asked the Salem Planning Division for permission to create four lots on what is currently the 14th fairway. Three would become homes, while the fourth would remain with the golf course, the Journal reported.
In August, the city denied the request. While the developers argued that the fairway was its own parcel, city records showed the entire golf course as one parcel, planning administrator Lisa Anderson-Ogilvie said. The club’s owners appealed that decision, but withdrew their appeal on March 10, five days before a scheduled public hearing, the Journal reported.
“We were retained as counsel. The developers’ attorneys withdrew within a week of our notice to them,” homeowner association lawyer Ellis said.
In February, the club asked neighbors to approve a plan that would triple their monthly homeowner association fees, raising about $400,000 per year for the club. In exchange, each resident would receive a social membership to the club, allowing them to use the pool and fitness center. Homeowners have not previously been required to join the club. The 588 association members are scheduled to vote on the proposal May 3, the Journal reported.
But golf club owners say the homeowners’ association moved too slowly, and on April 1 announced plans to close the golf course on May 1. That would violate the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CCRs), recorded in 1992, binding both homeowners and golf course owners, Ellis said.
The CCRs require that a golf course be sited on the property and be properly maintained for that purpose, he said. And, they don’t allow any change to the course’s boundaries. 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, the Journal reported.
Tokarski currently owns the golf course property, and co-owns the club along with developer Terry Kelly and club manager Tom Whitaker, Whitaker said in a February interview.
According to the legal complaint, the original developers and their successors, “represented, promised, developed and sold lots in the Creekside planned urban development as part of “the Jewel of the Willamette Valley” and as neighboring an 18-hole golf course. Advertised amenities included the use, views and common benefits of residing adjacent to, and interspersed with a high quality golf course, and open space.”
That created an “equitable servitude” that burdens the property so that the association can continue as a golf course community, the complaint alleges, the Journal reported.
Meanwhile, a committee formed by Creekside Golf Club members has been working on their own plan, endorsed by club owners, to save the course. It includes one-time payments by golf club members, an increase in golf dues, and signing neighbors to voluntary social memberships, as well as a request to the city to reduce water rates, the Journal reported.
“The committee has in fact secured sufficient funds ($330,000) to address the owners’ demand,” golf member Jerry Bennett said this week. “If the owners stick with their initial commitment, the course will be open, hopefully through the 2016 and 2017 golf seasons. If they renege on their offer or attempt to embellish it, they’ll deserve great condemnation by the members, the community, and the press.”
Tokarski declined to comment. Whitaker did not respond to the Journal’s requests for an interview.
Tell Us What You Think!
You must be logged in to post a comment.