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A letter from the developer

Scott Holder received the following this week from the new owners of the golf course property.  There are some points that bear mentioning:

  1. No one–including Scott Holder–has proposed any form of negotiation with the developer
  2. This individual’s history with other golf course properties is available for review
  3. He is trying to frame his hoped-for development of a significant portion of the property in the most positive, appealing terms, as though he is trying to persuade the affected homeowners that his venture would be a good thing for the community
  4. As expected, he appears to be complaining that the course is not financially viable. He is evidently expecting us to forget that the overpaid by more than $4 million when he purchased the property

Edited on 10/30/16 at 6:18 PM to add content:

The letter to Scott Holder from the developer was unsolicited. He is evidently trying to lobby Scott, thinking he might get some sort of advantage when he (the developer) applies for a zoning change.

–Admin

Please remember that there is a process for developing any property. In order to erect so much as a birdhouse, there would have to be an Environmental Impact report and approval to amend the General Plan and zoning. Any changes would require a 4/5 vote of the City Council and a 4/5 vote of the Planning Commission. One of the City Council members must recuse himself (his home is on the course), so all four members of the Council would have to approve any change.

If the City Council and Planning Commission do not approve–and  there has been no application to date–there would have to be a referendum (proposition) where the community would vote whether to change the General Plan and zoning.

It is more important than ever for us to stay informed and aware. Any development of the property would affect far more than just the 325 homes that look directly on the course. PLEASE get every person you know in San Ramon to subscribe to the website and to the mailing list to keep informed on any new developments. You already know how quick and easy that is!

Comments are invited below.

{Beginning of letter from developer}

ISSUES

  • -Aging clubhouse and infrastructure
  • -Labor and water bills not sustainable
  • -Declining golf play
  • -Not economically feasible for the long term
  • -Closure is imminent

OPPORTUNITIES

  • -Preserve over 115 acres  (89%) as improved and permanent open space
  • -Limit development to less then 15 acres (11%)
  • -Keep in place 18 hole golf course, driving range, club house and pool
  • -Invest millions of dollars back into the infrastructure, irrigation, drainage, landscaping, the golf course, the pool, open space and the clubhouse
  • -Insure that the 115 acres stays green for generations to come
  • -Add additional amenities for the community to use
  • -Cap on unit count (no more then [sic] 180 units)
  • -Restrict development to 55+ (no impact on schools and very traffic impact)
  • -Development plan affects very few existing current views of homeowners
  • -Limit height to no more then two stories
  • -No apartment or condo buildings
  • -Prevent closure of the course and the issues that go along with closure such as fencing, brown grass, vagrancy and crime for years to come
  • -Preserve and increase existing home values
  • -Complete community input and involvement in the entire process

{end of letter from developer}

 

{ 36 comments… add one }
  • William SooHoo October 30, 2016, 2:07 pm

    sure sounds good…but what did you expect from this developer? either he keeps it as a golf course, sells it or LET IT ROT! Stay The Course!!

  • Laura October 30, 2016, 2:07 pm

    A wise and prudent business person takes into consideration all what the new owners are complaining about before they make a sound purchase. To pay twice the going price for the golf course makes no business sense if these issues existed and continue to exist. They didn’t happen over night. They were apparent when they bought the golf course so they knew exactly what they were getting into.

  • Bill O October 30, 2016, 2:53 pm

    I have been told two things:
    1. Because of the creek the Army Corp of Engineers would have to be involved.
    2. It takes them six months to look at anything that comes to them.
    Is this correct?

    • Rosalind Rogoff October 31, 2016, 3:50 pm

      I believe that is correct. I used to live alongside the creek and in fact I still do but in Villa San Ramon now (across the street from the golf course). You might want to contact the new owners of the Villa (purchased in September). They might be interested in buying the Golf Course or keeping it as 55+ for use primarily by residents of the Villa.

      Roz

  • Denis Thomas October 30, 2016, 3:23 pm

    These Developers’ track record shows clearly that their greed is boundless. We must remain unmoved by their empty promises of limited home building and green-space preservation. Does anyone doubt that they would fully develop the entire property a bit at a time if we are weak and allow them ANY concession? They already have built a cheap, ugly, galvanized-chain-link fence inside the wrought-iron one along Olympia Fields and Thunderbird. Walk over and see it for yourself, as we have done.

    • Admin October 30, 2016, 6:26 pm

      The work being done on the course now has nothing to do with the developers. Please see Geoff Ho’s comment in this thread.

  • Eve Ridgers October 30, 2016, 3:31 pm

    It is not clear to me who said what in this article. Please clarify what you are saying and what was said by new owners.

    • Steve Hardy October 30, 2016, 3:58 pm

      I’m thinking the same as Eve. What exactly did the letter say? Also if it’s not viable in the future why not change it to open space now, owned and controlled by the City?

    • Admin October 30, 2016, 6:27 pm

      I have edited the post to clarify. Thanks for the comment.

  • John Pinion October 30, 2016, 3:39 pm

    If that’s a letter then we are in good shape. This isn’t a group of retired blue collar workers with no education. Zero information in my opinion. Nice try…

  • Ron Pugh October 30, 2016, 3:47 pm

    Now that might be the greatest list of conflicting ISSUES and OPPORTUNITIES I have ever seen. A paradox of paradoxes.

  • Brian October 30, 2016, 3:57 pm

    Poor new owner, I feel for him.

    Once again, Scott Holder shouldn’t be receiving these letters, the city council should. Scott and every other civilian who thinks they know what they’re doing needs to step aside to let EVERY piece of communication go through our city council. With all due respect, stop already Scott, you’re not an elected official.

  • Laura October 30, 2016, 4:26 pm

    Thank you Joe, Scott and the rest of the people leading “Stay the Course.” I am sure these new owners want to approach the “Stay the Course Group” first to feel things out before they submit their plans for development on sections of the golf course and request rezoning. More then likely that will take place sometime after elections.

    I appreciate all your hard work, your continuing struggles trying to protect the golf course and our community while trying to keep everyone happy. Not an easy task. And, I appreciate your patience in dealing with a very sensitive situation.

    Thank you for keeping us informed.

  • Joe A. October 30, 2016, 4:37 pm

    Hope is not a plan.

    Thank you Scott and Joe!

  • J. Glabner October 30, 2016, 5:20 pm

    Just because this shows up in a letter does not make it legally binding.

    Put it in a contract and it is a different matter.

    I really doubt someone would pay double what a golf course is worse and then develop only 11% of it, keep the course, upgrade the clubhouse etc…

    Does not make sense.

  • J. Glabner October 30, 2016, 5:25 pm

    While we are on the topic, does anyone know why the back nine has been shutdown and chain link fencing has been put up to block all the ingress and egress areas?

    • Admin October 30, 2016, 6:30 pm

      Geoff Ho explained what’s going on in his comment to this post. It has nothing to do with the new owner of the golf course.

      • J. Glabner October 30, 2016, 6:51 pm

        Thanks, Scott. I have not seen Mr. Ho’s comment yet but maybe it will show up later. We appreciate the effort you are putting into this matter.

        • Admin October 30, 2016, 7:09 pm

          Just do a search on “Geoff” in the comments, and you should find it.
          –admin (Joe Parsons, not Scott)

  • Tom Reid October 30, 2016, 5:47 pm

    The “letter” segment, and some replies, are very confusing! I’d prefer the letter be printed verbatim!! Y’know, the actual words of the developer?
    Also, the words ‘then’ and ‘than’ being misused makes the writers look foolish and illiterate.
    Next, Scott Holder is a good and admirable man, continuing to stand up for San Ramon! But yes, it’s the City Council, etc. that will implement the wishes of their constituents! That’s why it’s important that we work together in forums like these, to ensure that all of San Ramon’s residents are represented!!

    • Admin October 30, 2016, 6:32 pm

      I put the [sic] in the text to show that it was the exact words of the person writing the letter. As a hard-core grammar na…er, fanatic, I can say the error jumped out at me!

  • Marty Yeoman October 30, 2016, 6:43 pm

    If available, please post the communication as received from the course owner without truncation. Thanks Marty

  • donald corbin October 31, 2016, 3:55 am

    i agree with brian !scott holder has no business corresponding with the new owners ! i knew this would happen when he met with them.

  • Ted Hirtle October 31, 2016, 8:02 am

    Its pretty simple, once the developers get the approval from the city to rezone this property there is no going back. They can promise whatever they want, but none of it is legally binding. Their comments about the issues with the course like “Closure is imminent” just proves the point that they have no plans to do anything other than develop this land.

    Also, If the course is not viable now then why would it be viable in the future after they pour “millions in improvements” into it.

    There is no point to negotiating with this developer as they have nothing to offer our community. Trying to use the comment about 55+ as a benefit is laughable. There are plenty of 55+ individuals in San Ramon, both with kids in school and jobs in San Jose.

    What we need are better schools, better infrastructure and business/political leaders that are focused on this community rather than excessive profits.

    STAY THE COURSE!

  • Julie October 31, 2016, 8:43 am

    I also agree with Brian.

    No one should be communicating with the golf course owners. If they want to submit any kind of proposal for development, they need to do so through the formal and official channels just as any other developer does. That’s why we have a Planning Commission and a City Council. That’s why we have public hearings. That’s why we have a General Plan which San Ramon voters already approved which bars development on that land.

    The communication is almost laughable. In terms of their “issues,” they would have known about them before deciding to pay a cool $4 million over the asking price. But they aren’t in this to run a golf course. They’re in it to develop the golf course. And in terms of the “opportunities,” the opportunities are only for them to make money. They can promise what some people want to hear to try to get the land rezoned. If they succeed, they can then sell the land at a huge profit to another developer to do with as they wish. They could promise to only build one house on the golf course, get it rezoned and sell it to someone else, who would plan to build a lot more. The state could also require that a certain percentage of the housing be high density, low income.

    Clearly this communication is a sign that the owners weren’t happy with the outcome of Thursday’s meeting…

    Stay the course, remember that we have the power here, and stop talking to the owners, please.

    • Admin October 31, 2016, 9:52 am

      To clarify what’s going on: no one is communicating with the developer. No one is negotiating with or communicating with the developer. No one has any intention of doing either. The “Issues” letter that was posted was an unsolicited email to Scott Holder from the developer.
      Joe Parsons
      (Admin)

      • Frank Abajian November 2, 2016, 9:44 am

        Hi Joe,
        I would like to help plan the agenda for the next “Stay the Course” steering committee meeting. We should meet as soon as possible as the to do list is long.
        1. Elect officers.
        2. Form a committee to handle the non profit filing.
        3. Draft bylaws and conflict of interest statement.
        4. Draft articles of incorporation.
        5. Set a monthly meeting schedule.
        6. Obtain employer identification number.
        7. File the initial registration form with the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts
        8. File the Statement of Information with the California Secretary of State
        9. Apply for federal tax exemption with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
        10. Apply for California tax exemption with the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB)
        11. Write a purpose statement.
        I would also like to suggest that Stay the Course should go into a quite period during this time of organization and stop all communication with the developer. We should identify STC members who would be effective in opening up a formal dialogue with City of San Ramon officials and begin this effort immediately after the election. This is just a place to start.
        Regards,

        Frank Abajian

      • Chris Crowley February 14, 2017, 6:21 pm

        Is this organization still in operation?

        • Admin February 15, 2017, 7:28 am

          Most definitely! There just isn’t a lot going on at the moment. We will post an update as anything new happens.

  • Gene B October 31, 2016, 11:50 am

    I would like to see the original letter. Based on what we know about this developer there should be no trust in any statement, written or verbal. Signed contracts are the only way to put feet to the fire. I recommend we do not respond formally or informally to this feeler.

  • donald corbin October 31, 2016, 1:15 pm

    wake up joe ! nobody sould be getting a letter,solicited or not! let the city and planning people handle it.

  • Jeff October 31, 2016, 1:30 pm

    This developer is blinded by greed – they should have their mommy read their own material back to them before sending it out. Their list of “opportunities” are not opportunities at all:

    *Preserving the 115 ac. as open space – we have that already for the entire course, as protected by the general plan and zoning ordinance which is defended by a strong Council and Planning Commission. There is no need for us to give up any portion of it for their sole benefit.
    * Where they illogically opine that the currently viable course is not viable, how then can the same course not be viable after they have invested even more millions…in infrastructure, community amenities etc?
    * As the course property owner, their threats of “fencing, brown grass, vagrancy and crime for years to come” is hardly a way to persuade people to your side and these issues are solely in their power and responsibility to prevent in the first place. They alone will decide whether or not to close, fence off the course and make a nuisance and they will be held accountable for their deeds should they come to fruition.

  • Bill O October 31, 2016, 1:57 pm

    It looks more like an attachment to a letter than a letter.

  • David Ernest November 1, 2016, 2:45 pm

    The information looks like the first draft of a proposed piece of advertising material.

    The material was sent to Scott Holder unsolicited. Thank you Scott for sharing with us in the spirit of openness and transparency. You are doing a first rate job under very trying circumstances.

  • Bernard November 1, 2016, 5:14 pm

    This is ridiculous. I’m glad we team-up to express our opinions against the developer but to me, we need to prioritize communicating and making a case to the city commissioners. I agree with a few previous comments. We should not be receiving any emails/letter from the developer himself.

    • Eve Ridgers November 1, 2016, 6:19 pm

      I for one am tired of hearing about what Scott Holder has or has not done. I am grateful for his work so far and think he’s an asset to this group but don’t want to debate him or his actions any more. We are repeating ourselves over and over again folks. Let’s move on and get to the real issues. Let’s move forward…. please.

      We have a steering committee in place. At the last meeting hands were raised to ask to meet the committee members. Can we have a meeting to meet the committee members and to hear what their job will be going forward?

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