Your property value may be in danger.
A developer from Beverly Hills bought the San Ramon Golf Club in 2015 for nearly $9 million—almost twice the asking price. He did not buy this long-established course because he loves the sport of golf. He bought it with the intent of building several hundred homes on the site.
The developer, wealthy criminal defense lawyer Ronald Richards, has bought five other golf course besides San Ramon with the same plan. He has closed the courses and allowed them to go to blight, claiming that they were “no longer financially viable” as golf courses. In Escondido, when he was rebuffed by the City Council for allowing the property to become an eyesore, he retaliated by spreading 5 tons of raw chicken manure on the course. This earned him a $100,000 fine, and it serves to demonstrate that Mr. Richards will stop at nothing to get what he wants, at the expense of the neighborhoods he invades.
You may be thinking, “I don’t care what happens to a golf course in South San Ramon. I’m miles away. It doesn’t affect me.” Apart from the increase in traffic and strain on schools and water, this represents a trend. Developers see golf courses only as hundreds of millions of dollars in profit from building condominiums on the site.
The San Ramon Golf Club is presently zoned “Golf Club,” Period. To change that zoning, Richards would have to convince four out of five Planning Commission members and four out of five City Council members. Today, there is no interest in changing the general plan and the City Council won’t change until 2018.
This means that he would try to get a proposition on the ballot. Getting enough signatures is trivially easy. Getting enough votes to change the San Ramon General Plan (and the zoning of the San Ramon Golf Club property) would be more difficult, but it would not be impossible. He’d just have to spend enough money to get more than half of the 36,000 registered voters in the City to think he had a good idea and vote for his measure.
If he is successful in changing the General Plan, he will open the door to more development of other golf courses, many of which are struggling to survive. If you are one of the lucky homeowners whose properties look out on the green expanse of a golf course, you could expect to see your property value plummet by tens of thousands of dollars when your view changes from “golf course” or “open space” to “neighborhood” or “condominiums.”
This developer has millions of dollars invested and hundreds of millions in potential profit. He has no concern for the effect his plans would have on our community. It is “just business” for him, and he will do whatever he needs to do to get what he wants.
We must be prepared to fight him. That’s where you come in.
Our best defense is informed voters—like you. We have created this site to inform and mobilize the whole community of San Ramon. You can see some of Mr. Richards’ history and practices at the History tab on this site. You can subscribe to the Stay the Course mailing list to get up-to-date information on any new developments. You’ll get emails any time there are new developments. Don’t worry—the site is used ONLY for this one purpose. You won’t get any spam or irrelevant material. That’s a promise.
We are fortunate to live in one of the most vibrant, diverse and successful cities in California. San Ramon is the beautiful place it is because of concerned residents—like you.
Whether you are a recent arrival to San Ramon or one of the original residents from when there were barely 4,000 people here, we need your help. Subscribe to Stay the Course today. Stay informed. Be ready to vote to keep our community from becoming a developer’s profit center.