Residents of the Adobe Creek neighborhood in east Petaluma are rightly teed off. The eponymous golf course, on which many paid a premium to live, has been closed since the beginning of the year, becoming a major blight on the community and sending property values into the bunker.
The target of their anger is Richard Coombs, the general partner of the investment firm that owns Adobe Creek Golf Course. Claiming that Adobe Creek was not profitable, Coombs shut down the course in January and has made little effort to sell the course or revive it.
As a result, residents are left with an overgrown rat’s nest in their backyard. That Coombs does not want someone else operating Adobe Creek Golf Course is no surprise. His company also operates Rooster Run, Petaluma’s other public course, and selling Adobe Creek would only create competition for Rooster Run.
While this may be a shrewd business move, it comes at the expense of the Adobe Creek homeowners, who no longer have fairway-adjacent properties. Complicating matters is a city zoning ordinance that requires the land to be a golf course through 2039. The land is technically still a golf course, although a shuttered and unplayable one.
Coombs, it seems, would like to develop the land with something more valuable, like houses, while continuing to profit from Rooster Run. This business practice is not fair to Adobe Creek property owners, and indeed is unethical. If he does not want to operate the golf course, he should sell it to someone that does.
The city’s zoning law requires the land to be a golf course. For that reason, the city should push hard to see that Adobe Creek Golf Course returns as an attractive, fully functioning facility.