The Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) has been diligently performing its charter to develop and maintain a strategic long range plan for the Somersett community. In this regard they focused on the following two tasks:
- Task 1. The Club at Town Center (TCTC) amenity improvements for 2016 and beyond.
- Task 2. Options for the Somersett Golf and Country Club (SGCC) land usage.
As a result of their extensive work on the above tasks, a special meeting was convened and a report issued detailing their activities, discussions and recommendations. The full report may be accessed by clicking on the following link, which all are encouraged to read:
Task 1 TCTC Amenity Recommendation Summary
Recommendations contained in the report pertaining to TCTC amenity improvements include:
- Expanding the TCTC on the north side to add sufficient square footage to accommodate youth services programs, exercise facilities and meeting rooms. Also recommendations on reconfiguring the TCTC facility to accommodate increased usage.
- Double the size of the lap pool, provide enclosed access from TCTC, and provide a convertible pool enclosure to allow for year around use.
- Revise member areas around the outdoor pool to accommodate additional seating/lounging.
It is interesting to note that the SPC concluded that to construct a facility to accommodate an indoor pool and fitness center on the land adjacent to the Town Center retail buildings was not feasible for a variety of reasons. This being somewhat contrary as to why the SOA BOD opted to purchase this land (i.e., for $260K) in the first place. That is, for future TCTC amenity additions. This now raises the question as to what this land (currently an eye sore) will ultimately be used for.
Task 2 SGCC Usage Recommendation Summary
Whereas the Task 1 recommendations will most likely provide for little controversy, SU expects that the Task 2 recommendations will not follow suit. The following SGCC land usage options were considered:
- Continue to operate the golf course and related facilities as now and offer it free to Owners.
- Do nothing but water and cut the grass on the Golf Course
- Operate the course as a private golf club except that there would not be any “free” golf for SOA members.
- Operate the course as a semi-private golf course
- Operate the course as a public course.
In evaluating the above options, the SPC rejected Option 2 as the least acceptable and estimated the annual cost to the SOA to maintain as green space would be in the $500K- $750K range, and that water restrictions may not permit maintaining such a large green space.
Option 1 was also rejected based on the basis that most Somersett owners do not play golf and that the required increase in owner assessments would never pass a vote.
Options 3, 4 and 5 were presented as alternatives by the SPC Chairman who is also a SGCC member. He presented financial estimates, wherein options 3 and 4 could be accomplished on a break even basis with no impact on SOA member dues. Based on these scenarios, the SPC recommended consideration for operating the golf course as a semi-private club (Option 4) with the backup for a private club (Option 3).
However, SU considers that the Option 3 and 4 scenarios presented by a SGCC member are potentially self-serving. Therefore, the BOD should not act on the SPC recommendation without an independent assessment of the scenario data and assumptions. Note that Option 3 does not appear to offer Somersett homeowners anything for their $15/month assessment and Option 4 assumes 100 rounds of golf per day by Somersett homeowners – is this a stretch? Also, the $2.0M estimated operating budget is not consistent with the SGCC’s reported expenses of $2.92M in 2013 nand $2.73M in 2014 (2015 financials are not yet publically available). Additionally the scenarios do not appear to address what it would cost the SOA to acquire the SGCC business license, equipment, and club house. These were all not a part of the purchase agreement.
Interestingly, the report contained no reference on the SGCC’s current financial status and/or the probability that the SOA would be faced with a SGCC default anytime in the near future.
Additionally, the preceding recommendations appear to be at odds with what the SOA BOD presented to homeowners when arguing for a positive vote on the CC&R amendments and purchase of the SGCC land and water rights. That is, to be able to control what happens to the SGCC land should they fail, stressing maintenance as a green belt (with little impact on assessments) as opposed to buying a golf course with a commitment to operate as such (as being more costly to homeowners).
Whatever the BOD or SPC recommendations turn out to be, if the SGCC property reverts to the SOA, one can only hope that the BOD will live up to its commitment to let the homeowners make the final decision. Presumably through a majority voting process.