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Housing, executive course proposed for Adobe Creek

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Owners of the shuttered Adobe Creek Golf Club last week pitched a potential solution to residents that would scale down the golf course, add homes and vineyards and remove what many see as an overgrown blight from the untended course.

The proposal was similar to one Adobe Creek homeowners heard in late 2016, just weeks before the course shut down on Jan. 1, 2017. Management said it was losing $200,000 annually, and opted to close the golf course to curb additional losses.

At a homeowners association meeting on Thursday at Rooster Run Golf Club, Richard Coombs, managing member of Adobe Investments and operator of Windsor and Rooster Run golf clubs, proposed construction of a nine-hole course, a 53-home development, and vineyards on the remainder of the 100-acre Adobe Creek property.

After 10 years, Coombs would have the option to extend ownership for another decade or sell the golf course to the HOA for $1 to either continue operating it or convert it to something else, according to the proposal. The developer would place $37,500 from each new home in escrow for the HOA to use if that sale comes to fruition.

“We remain hopeful to find a solution that works for all of us and we know it needs to work for all of us if we want to move forward,” Coombs said. “Hopefully we can gain some common consensus.”

In the aftermath of the closure last year, the golf course became a source of contention for residents in the 320-home subdivision.

Between March and June 2017, city officials received 105 complainants outlining rundown conditions that had become the new norm with upkeep nearly nonexistent. Weeds, dead trees, transients and an increase in vermin resulting in high pest control bills for neighbors like Robert DeCelles led to an outpouring of frustration.

Many in the community also voiced outrage over the potential for declining property values and the dramatic shift in views from pristine greens to an untamed prairie.

But the outcry eventually led to some relief. DeCelles, a 22-year resident, said conditions have improved drastically on the holes nearest to the homes. The other half, however, has become completely feral.

“For a number of months now Coombs’ people have been keeping the course in very good condition,” he said. “It would be almost playable for nine holes.”

The June 7 meeting had a mixed reception among residents. DeCelles said the crowded event center at Rooster Run was filled with “skepticism and curiosity.”

“It was kind of confrontational,” added resident Ronald Nadeau.

During Coombs’ presentation he provided background on the course and its purchase history. Adobe Investments bought the property in 2011 from a local developer that had purchased the course earlier that year. The previous owners had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy so the land was placed into a court-appointed receivership.

After getting the course up and running, ownership invested in marketing and revamped facilities to try and attract more players but nothing ever took hold. Many commenters pointed out that the clubhouse never reopened, indicating that the new owners never intended to keep the club afloat.

Some residents took advantage of the opportunity to air their grievances and their cynicism about the owners’ intentions. Coombs said that was to be expected, but he viewed the meeting as the first step toward continued dialogue between both sides.

“There were those in the group that were a little harsh with him and said it like it was from their point of view, but there wasn’t any outright hostility or anything like that,” DeCelles said.

While the land owners were formulating their own solution, coincidentally, so was the HOA. President Sally Hanson said the board held a closed-door meeting “almost two weeks ago,” and came up with a proposal of their own before they were notified about Adobe Investments’ interest in a public meeting.

Hanson declined to comment on the details of the HOA proposal, but multiple residents told the Argus-Courier the HOA is looking to purchase the entire parcel.

Any action by the board requires two-thirds approval from all homeowners, and a survey is in the works to gauge where the neighborhood stands.

Given the makeup of the subdivision, a consensus seems unlikely, though. About 200 homes face the golf course while 100 don’t. Less than a third of the community actually played on the golf course, and a portion of the homes are being rented out, which means little vested interest in a long-term solution.

Since jurisdiction over the course is shared between the city and the county, government officials have been waiting for homeowners and the developer to reach an agreement.

Six of the 18 holes are located within city limits, and face development restrictions because of a 1989 zoning ordinance that requires public access – whether it’s open space or a golf course – until 2039.

However, the property owner could apply for rezoning and, at this point, Mayor David Glass said he’s ready to facilitate any reasonable solution that comes before city council.

“The ball is in the court of both the HOA and the developer,” he said. “The city’s role would be one of cooperation to attempt to achieve a remedy if those parties can come up with a remedy. There’s been a number of explorations looking for one, and I would hope they’d be able to find a path to do that.”

(Contact News Editor Yousef Baig at yousef.baig@arguscourier.com or 776-8461, and on Twitter @YousefBaig.)