Are residences in Club West course’s future?

Posted: December 30, 2019 / Source: Ahwatukee Foothills News

The four men who walked away from a deal to buy Club West Golf Course have returned to the table and are presenting a plan to the homeowners association next month.

The quartet of investors also may ask the HOA board to have homeowners vote on changing the golf course’s covenants, conditions and restrictions – raising the possibility the plan includes residences of some kind on the course.

One source said the plan includes a number of key changes to the course that were outlined in an anonymous letter sent to at least 73 homeowners in November.

That letter – whose author has never been disclosed – said the plan involved reducing the 18-hole course to a nine-hole executive course; demolishing the current clubhouse in favor of a new one closer to Chandler Boulevard; and building some kind of housing on four holes as well as on the areas where the pond and clubhouse are currently situated.

The Club West Community Association Board’s most recent newsletter earlier this month announced that the course was again in escrow – only weeks after Matt Shearer, a Club West resident and one of the investors, announced that he and his three partners had walked away from buying the course from owner Wilson Gee for $800,000.

Shearer said an extensive examination of the course during the due diligence period led the quartet to decide, “Unfortunately, we do not believe the course can be saved as a sustainable jewel of our community.”

But the board’s quarterly newsletter last week delivered a stunning announcement:

“Late last week, on December 12th, we learned that the course is again in escrow. The potential buyers are the same group as the last escrow and appear to have resolved many of their challenges. We do not know the exact closing date. We have been told that they want to close by early March.”

“They are preparing a presentation and will communicate their plans to us,” the announcement stated. “All plans require an approval of the board and vote of the community.”

On Friday, the board followed up on this announcement with an explanation of how it will proceed with handling the investors’ plan once they present it at a meeting Jan. 16.

 “There will not be a vote about the plan at this meeting nor a scheduled Q and A. We will have a lot of questions as a board and expect questions from the attendees,” the board said, telling residents they will be able to fill out forms with questions and comments that will be addressed before its Feb. 20 meeting.

 It went on to say that at the Feb. 20 meeting, the board will first decide whether “to present the buyer’s plan for the course to the community or request a revised plan based on additional input from the board.”

“The board vote is only the first step in the approval process, the announcement went on to say. 

“If the board decides the buyer’s plan is not ready for a community vote, the buyers will be required to submit a new plan based on the boards and communities’ concerns and inputs. Any new plan would require new open meeting presentation, preparation and a vote etc.”

The board said that if it approves the plan, it would then schedule a special meeting where homeowners would cast ballots to decide the plan’s fate.

Unlike the requirements for changing the CC&Rs governing the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course – another site owned by Gee that has lapsed into a barren piece of desert – a majority vote of all homeowners is not required to change Club West Golf Course’s land use regulations.

Club West’s board in late summer adopted new rules require only 31 percent of the ballots must be cast for a simple majority vote to change the CC&Rs.

That means that if the Club West HOA board follows through with a special meeting to vote on the investors’ plan, it could pit the 357 owners of homes adjacent to the course against the rest of Club West’s approximate 2,400 homeowners. 

Many homeowners are tired of seeing the barren course and could decide that homes with properly landscaped lots would be preferable to the current course’s condition.

Of the 357 houses next to the course, 73 are located next to the four holes that the anonymous letter claimed were eyed for residences.

The anonymous letter never said what kind of residences were being considered.

But a source said that while the letter’s author remains a mystery, the letter itself “turns out that it contained more truth than fiction” when it comes to the current suitors’ plans.

The letter noted that even if homeowners opted for the investors’ plan, the City of Phoenix would have some involvement in any housing proposal.

Gee told AFN that he has no idea what the prospective buyers want to do.

“They haven’t disclosed what they’re doing to it,” he said, adding that he decided to allow them back into escrow because he doesn’t have any other suitors for the course and because they had backed out mainly because they couldn’t meet his timeline.

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