Golf course owners, residents clash
Representatives of Genoa Lakes homeowners and the two golf courses clashed on a proposal to enact an ordinance requiring a plan to close a golf course on Thursday.
County commissioners voted to have staff examine the issue and bring back a version of the ordinance that applies to Douglas County.
Homeowners have contacted residents of golf course communities across the county in support of their cause.
The dispute arose last year when the owners of Genoa Lakes said they would close the course if they couldn’t develop additional homes.
On Thursday, Genoa Golf Group IV General Partner Fred Gartrell said his group was opposed to the implementation of an ordinance saying it puts an undue burden on them.
“Is it the responsibility of the owner of a restaurant to open its doors so people have a place to go at lunchtime, even though they are not serving any food,” he said.
He said his group does not intend to close either of the Genoa golf courses.
Genoa Lakes resident Jim Hartman said that the ordinance proposed is based on one approved in Henderson.
“In Title 20, if you’re a homeowner and you leave your property blighted, you are subject to the nuisance ordinance,” he said. “We’re asking that Title 20 be extended to golf course.”
He pointed out that the time to prepare the ordinance is while no golf course in under threat of closure.
Hartman said closing a golf course could result in a 20-30-percent reduction in the property values of the homes around it.
“This is good public policy,” he said.
Gartrell argued that the covenants, codes and restrictions for the golf course homes say the course’s owners may change eliminate or stop operations at their discretion.
He said the Henderson ordinance has been challenged in court.
Commissioners Barry Penzel and Dave Nelson both expressed reluctance to add any new ordinances to the county code.
Deputy District Attorney Doug Ritchie said he contacted the city attorney in Henderson who drafted the ordinance.
He said the Henderson ordinance was designed to cover the time between when a golf course is closed and when it’s redeveloped.
He said the county code does address some concerns residents have.
Last year, Gartrell said the partners were marketing the golf course to potential buyers. They priced the course at $6 million when they suggested that homeowners purchase it.
Commissioner Wes Rice said he doesn’t believe the county should get in the golf course business.
Genoa Lakes homeowners sent letters to residents living around the other golf course communities.
Hartman said they received nearly 379 support letters representing more than 600 golf course neighbors.