We had the joy of participating in a meeting of the Duarte City Council a couple of weeks ago in which a very preliminary proposal to repurpose a daily fee 9-hole executive golf course cum driving range as an RV Park / storage facility was all but killed by a City Council that made clear that the rezoning necessary to repurpose the property would not be in the offing. Duarte is a 22,000-person bedroom community in Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley, roughly 10 miles due east of Pasadena. The small golf facility in question (Rancho Duarte) sits atop a long-closed landfill, making it incompatible with much higher and better economic repurposing like housing or retail; however, for something like an RV park or storage facility very much so.
While no specific application had been filed or was even before Council that evening, the absentee owners of the golf facility were directed by Council to engage the local community before seeking the zone change that would allow them to sell the golf course to a developer for that RV park / storage facility. As a golf course it is worth little on the open market. As an RV park it has substantial resale value in this community. Stop and consider that for a moment – AS A GOLF COURSE IT HAS LITTLE ECONOMIC VALUE; AS AN RV PARK / STORAGE FACILITY IT IS WORTH MILLIONS TO ITS CURRENT GOLF COURSE OWNER – but only if it can be rezoned low grade commercial as opposed to open space/recreation. For that reason, one member of the City Council approached us (roughly 100 golfers, most of them juniors) after the meeting to remind us to remain vigilant. People tend not to give up when the subject is money.
What “saved” the golf course that night? All the things that cannot be counted financially that a golf facility like this brings to the life of the community in which it is located. In this case:
What didn’t “save” the golf course? Any hint of the economic benefit of the golf course. Indeed, just to make sure that it was clear to everyone in the room, we included in our remarks that if it’s money that is the deciding metric (tax receipts too), the RV Park has the golf course beaten by a wide margin. But if it’s all the things that make living in Duarte a quality community experience, an RV park is no substitute for the multi-faceted value proposition represented by this little golf course. Getting that on the record at the dawn of what may be a continuing challenge if the Council Member who came up to us after the meeting is correct, was a strategic move to get out in front of what may be a more lucrative permitted use some other potential buyer may have in mind for these absentee owners who clearly want to get out from under ownership of the Rancho Duarte Golf Course. It also stimulated a little discussion of the city considering taking the property off their hands and turning it into a municipal asset.
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The 2023 session of the California Legislature closed in the waning hours of Thursday night. While some of 2023’s bills have already been passed on to the Governor and signed into law, many more are now on the Governor’s desk for signature or veto, among them AB 1572 (Friedman; D-Burbank), which proscribes the use of potable water to irrigate purely ornamental or non-functional turf.Read More →
As the legislature races to the finish of a session complicated by a budget deficit that cannot be known until the Franchise Tax Board receives Californians’ tax returns in mid-October, here is what we can report now about those bills the golf community has supported in the session, the bills the community has been tracking carefully, and one gut-and-amend job we have brought to your attention for what its fate may be able to inform us about the decibel level of what we have termed “labor’s roar” and others have called “labor’s hot summer.”Read More →
The SCGA is pleased to be one of the “supporting sponsors” of the “Colorado Basin Golf & Water Summit” October 12 in Las Vegas, a conference organized initially and primarily by the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) but secondarily organized and supported by the SCGA and many more.Read More →
Anyone over a certain age, and even those below a certain age, know something of Yogi Berra’s caveat about predictions – “predictions are a dangerous thing, particularly about the future.”Read More →
The Legislature is on summer vacation. The members return August 14 and adjourn for the year 31 days later on September 14. Bills that pass through both houses by that date move to the Governor for signature or veto. Before they go to their respective floors for final votes, bills must first get through the two Appropriations Committees, the places where controversial bills often find their final resting places.Read More →
We were awakened this morning to an editorial running in today’s editions of the Southern California News Group’s newspapers (SCNG) advocating for the resurrection of AB 1910. Its title: “Why not turn golf courses into homes?”Read More →
An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times during US Open week captured the attention of the golf and non-golf worlds. Its title: “The PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger isn’t the problem; Golf is.”Read More →