Implied Covenants, Conservation Easements, Wildlife Corridors

August 30, 2016: With Fallbrook Golf Course’s owner facing foreclosure and the property under threat of imminent development, Gird Valley, Inc (owned by Fallbrook residents Jade and Julie Work) move the property into escrow. They commit to using Conservation Easements to protect the property from development. 


CONSERVATION EASEMENTS

Benefits for landowners of conservation easements. Land Trust Alliance.

Income tax incentives for land conservation. Land Trust Alliance.

Private lands conservation: Conservation easements. The Nature Conservancy.

Trump’s golf courses expose conservation quagmire. By James Moorhead, LandThink, Mar. 28, 2016.

IRS tees off on golf courses’ green tax claims. By Richard Rubin, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 4, 2016.

Kiva Dunes Conservation LLC et al. v Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Memorandum findings of fact and opinion, June 22, 2009. See also: Conservation Easement and Declaration of Restrictions and Covenants, Dec. 31, 2002.


Gird Valley was homesteaded in the late 1800s. It has been home to cattle ranchers, beekeepers and avocado farmers who created the course on the agricultural land below the frost line in the 1960s. Neighborhoods were built around this Open Space which serves as the cornerstone of Gird Valley. In more recent years, vineyards have been developed. Fallbrook Winery, the largest winery in San Diego County, is situated on the western ridge of Gird Valley.

The historical zoning on the property is Agricultural with special use permits for operation. The Fallbrook Golf Course consists of 116 acres made up of 9 tax assessors’ parcels but it is only 2 legal parcels. Six of the 9 tax assessors’ parcels are designated for use as “Recreational-Vacant Land” and three parcels as “Golf Course.” Any change in use will require a zoning change and subdividing the property in compliance with the Subdivision Map Act. Development will be incredibly difficult to accomplish for a variety of reasons but this does not mean the property is 100% safe from development.

The property is also contiguous with a 47.74-acre Open Space preserve valued for its wildlife habitat and owned by the Fallbrook Land Conservancy which has done a Habitat Assessment. A substantial population of birds and wildlife species are resident on the preserve and the golf course, in Live Oak Creek and in the three ponds in the valley. The area is a wildlife corridor and the fairways are resplendent with many ancient live oaks, sycamores and other native species. Additionally, the parcel that lies west of Gird Road is bordered on both the north and the south by historically significant structures.

Golf course land supports many community and natural benefits which are recognized in a growing body of case law and with substantial IRS tax benefits. Follows a few items of interest on these subjects:

IMPLIED RESTRICTED COVENANTS:

CASE LAW

First example: Ute Park Summer Homes Ass’n v. Maxwell Land Gr. Co., 1967, The Supreme Court of New Mexico
In Ute Park Summer Homes Association v. Maxwell Land Grant Co., 1967, the developer simply promised to build a Golf Course and distributed maps containing an area marked “golf course.” The simple existence and use of the map was found to be enough evidence for the Court to find an easement and stated,

“[W]here land is sold with reference to a map or plat showing a park or like open area, the purchaser acquires a private right, generally referred to as an easement, that such area shall be used in the manner designated. As stated, this is a private right and it is not dependent on a proper making and recording of a plat for purposes of dedication.” 77 N.M. at 734, 427 P.2d at 253.

The Map was not recorded, there were no recorded covenants, yet, The New Mexico Supreme Court held that lot owners still had a legal right to use of the area as a golf course, and an implied easement had been created. This right, the court held, came into existence because of maps and representations of the developer’s agents. Silverstone Ranch showed an abundance of smaller maps, a big one in the sales office, many news interviews, advertisements and articles, etc. There are numerous examples of these in the case of the Silverstone Ranch Golf Course Community.

Second example: Shalimar Ass’n v. DOC Enterprises, Ltd., 688 P. 2d 682 – Ariz: Court of Appeals, 1984
More ...

The Judge in ‘Shalimar’ actually cites ‘Ute Park’ in a case where the ‘new owners’ of golf course sought to simply develop it without regard for the equitable rights of the neighbors. Quoting from the first page of the Decision,

“OPINION – FROEB, Judge.

This case involves an attempt by the new owners of a golf course to develop the property for other purposes. No specific restriction as to the use of the land was ever placed of record with the county recorder. The surrounding homeowners brought this action to have the court declare and enforce against the new owners an implied restriction limiting the use of the property to a golf course. We hold that a covenant restricting the use of the property is implied from the facts and circumstances and is enforceable against the new owners because they are not bona fide purchasers without notice.”

Again without a recorded document the courts even found a covenant enforceable against the subsequent or ‘new’ owners, who simply ‘should have’ known it was a Golf Course, and the implied restriction would apply.

Third example: Skyline Woods Homeowners Association Inc v. Broekemeier, 2008, Supreme Court of Nebraska
More ...

In 2004, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Nebraska. The homeowners in the Skyline Woods development were not included in the Skyline Country Club creditor’s matrix, and their claimed restrictive covenants were not specifically raised. On February 9, 2005, the bankruptcy court entered an order approving the sale of the golf course property to Liberty, which is owned and operated by David A. Broekemeier and Robin Broekemeier. In 2005, Skyline Country Club issued a warranty deed to Liberty, conveying the property “free from encumbrance except covenants, easements and restrictions of record.” In 2006, the HOA sued, won, and prevented, “any actions that would interfere with or damage the golf course or prevent the property from being used as a golf course.”, sounding very similar to the order in the Silverstone Golf Course case.

In 2007, the district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of HOA on the issue of whether restrictive covenants “limiting the use of the property to that of a golf course” ran with the land. The court also concluded that the bankruptcy order did not sell the property free and clear of the restrictive covenants, as the restrictive covenants are third-party property rights belonging to Homeowners.

The Nebraska Supreme Court stated, that in Wessel v. Hillsdale Estates, Inc.,1 they were faced with actual express protective covenants by the developer to preserve land for a park for the surrounding homeowners’ enjoyment, but the amount of land was in dispute. They concluded that the amount of land used to build the park had to be in accordance with the buyer’s expectations, stating,

“A restrictive covenant is to be construed in connection with the surrounding circumstances, which the parties are supposed to have had in mind at the time they made it; the location and character of the entire tract of land; the purpose of the restriction; whether it was for the sole benefit of the grantor or for the benefit of the grantee and subsequent purchasers; and whether it was in pursuance of a general building plan for the development of the property.”2

1 Wessel v. Hillsdale Estates, Inc., 200 Neb. 792, 266 N.W.2d 62 (197S)

2 id. at 80l, 266 N.W.2d at 68 (quoting Lund v. Orr, 181 Neb. 361, 148 NW.2d 309 (1967).

‘Skyline’ cites both ‘Ute Park’ and ‘Shalimar’, and in analysis of the Bankruptcy sale, the Court found, “that the bankruptcy sale has no effect on implied restrictive covenants and that as such, Liberty and the Broekemeiers are still bound by them.” Subsequent owners are bound by, and the sale in Bankruptcy had no effect on, the Implied Covenants. The Court also noting that,

“In In re Rivera,3 the court concluded that covenants running with the land are property interests that cannot be removed in a discharge because to do so would be taking a property interest away from a third party and giving the debtor a property interest which the debtor never had.”

3 In re Rivera, 256 B.R. 828 (M.D. Fla. 2(00).

In conclusion, the Court stated,

“we affirm the order of the district court that the implied covenants require that the property is to be used only as a golf course. As to maintenance, the golf course shall be maintained according to standards (I) through (7) of the June 13, 2006, joint stipulation of the parties. Accordingly, we modify the district court’s order regarding the required standards of maintenance.”, acknowledging not only the covenants, but the right to proper maintenance of the Golf Course!

Third example, on Appeal : IN RE: SKYLINE WOODS COUNTRY CLUB, Debtor. Mid-City Bank, et al., Appellants. v. Skyline Woods Homeowners Association, et al., Appellees, United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 2011
More ...

On Appeal , in the Eighth Circuit, the Court wrote:

“Before LOKEN, ARNOLD, and BYE, Circuit Judges. Anna M. Bednar, Robert Frederick Craig, Robert F. Craig, P.C., Omaha, NE, for Appellants. Robert J. Bothe, Michael Thomas Eversden, McGrath & North, Omaha, NE, for Appellees. If so authorized, the purchaser of real property from a bankruptcy estate acquires title to the land “free and clear of any interest” identified in 11 U.S.C. § 363(f). After an affiliate of Liberty Building Corporation (“Liberty”) purchased the Skyline Woods Golf Course in Douglas County, Nebraska, from the estate of a Chapter 11 debtor, residents of the surrounding planned community sued the purchasers to enforce express and implied restrictive covenants. The Supreme Court of Nebraska held that the bankruptcy sale did not extinguish equitable interests in having the property maintained as a golf course. Skyline Woods Homeowners Ass’n, Inc. v. Broekemeier, 758 N.W.2d 376, 392-93 (Neb.2008). Liberty and its secured lender, Mid-City Bank, now appeal the bankruptcy court’s denial of their motion to reopen the closed bankruptcy proceedings in order to declare the Supreme Court of Nebraska judgment void and to enjoin the residents from enforcing it. We conclude denial of the motion to reopen was not an abuse of discretion because, in a reopened bankruptcy proceeding, the state-court judgment would be entitled to the full faith and credit mandated by 28 U.S.C. § 1738. Accordingly, we affirm.”

In review of Skyline 2, “Finality of ‘Free and Clear’ Sale Orders by Bankruptcy Courts”, April 28, 2011, George W. Shuster, Jr., Katelyn R. O’Brien, John D. Sigel wrote,

“It is interesting to consider that the 8th Circuit’s approach to this issue reaches a similar result to the decision of the 9th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel in the much-discussed Clear Channel case of several years ago.15 In Clear Channel, the 9th Circuit BAP held that an aggrieved junior lienholder could challenge the effect of the “free and clear” provisions of a sale order, notwithstanding Section 363(m), because a challenge to the “free and clear” provisions was not an attack on the sale order itself. In Skyline Woods, the 8th Circuit seems to be saying that a party may obtain a state court judgment that “free and clear” provisions of a sale order are not applicable to it, because such a judgment is not the result of an appeal of the sale order, but rather an interpretation of the sale order. These two decisions arise in different procedural contexts, with the 9th Circuit BAP allowing a challenge to “free and clear” language on appeal because the language is not integral to the sale order, and with the 8th Circuit allowing a challenge to the application of the “free and clear” language because the challenge goes to the “merits” of the sale order. But in each case the “free and clear” language was successfully challenged notwithstanding Section 363(m)’s apparent finality.

The Bottom Line

Purchasers rely on a bankruptcy court’s “free and clear” order when purchasing property. Many purchasers may anticipate that, if the sale order is later challenged, they can return to the bankruptcy court and resolve the dispute in a favorable forum. Mid-City Bank v. Skyline Woods Homeowners Association illustrates that when purchasers buy free and clear under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code, they should consider, among other risks, the risk that a non-bankruptcy court will decide issues of whether the sale was “free and clear,” and that its decision will be adverse to and binding on the purchasers.”

——————————————————

In this line of Golf Course specific cases, as with the bulk of the Case Law, the courts have consistently found that Planned golf Course Communities have a Restrictive Easement, and the Homeowners who bought based on a Golf Course being the center piece of the Community have an ‘equitable servitude’ on which to rely on, that the Dedicated or Promised Golf Course/Open space would remain as such.

In the case of Silverstone Ranch, there is more than an implied easement, but rather an Express Written Agreement that establishes the Restrictive Covenant. We can also see that such Restrictive Covenants have been upheld by the Courts in a post Bankruptcy Sale ‘Free and Clear’.


Riverview Community Group v. Spencer & Livingston
More ...

Slip opinion, Supreme Court of the State of Washington, Nov. 20, 2014.

WA Supreme Court: Implied equitable servitude may keep the golf going. By Justin Walsh, Issaquah Law Goup, Nov. 20, 2014.

Washington Supreme Court holds that developer’s statements 25 years ago could limit future use of property. By Phillips Burgess PLLC, Nov. 20, 2014.

Homeowners hit hole in one – developer double bogies. By Schlemlein Goetz Fick & Scruggs PLLC.

Can I get a mulligan? By James D. Howsley, Jordan Ramis PC, spring 2013.

Heatherwood Holdings, LLC v. HGC, Inc.
More ...

Case file, US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, Mar. 27, 2014.

Fore! Eleventh Circuit upholds implied restrictive covenant for subdivision golf course. Georgia Law Review, May 20, 2014.

Implied restrictive covenant prevents conversion of golf course to residential lots. By Roger D. Winston et al., Ballard Spahr, LLP, Aug. 5, 2014.

Sales free and clear: What about restrictive covenants? By Vicki R. Harding, Esq., Oct. 7, 2014.


GOLF COURSES AND WILDLIFE CORRIDORS

Avian diversity on golf courses and surrounding landscapes in Italy. By Alberto Sorace and Marta Visentin, Landscape and Urban Planning, 81 (2007) 81-90.

Inter-reserve distance. By Craig L. Shafer, Biological Conservation 100 (2001) 215-227.

HOME

What’s Next? Golf Course, Mitigation Land Banking, High-density Development, Garbage Dump?

June30SM
Fallbrook Golf Course’s back nine before the water was turned back on in July. Photo: Ken Seals, June 30, 2016.

SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE!

The San Diego Union Tribune‘s Tod Leonard, Bob Pickard and J. Harry Jones, the Reader‘s Ken Leighton, along with Tom Ferrall at our local Village News, must be as tired as the neighbors are, what with all the mixed messages coming out of Fallbrook Golf Course!

These reporters have done a stellar job covering the saga of our local golf course and we thank them!

On June 3, we learned that owner Jack Lamberson had “acceptable offers” for the course. This was followed by conflicting reports, both on Thursday June 30, that the course was closed “due to change in management” but would reopen under new ownership on Friday.

Then there were articles about a sale to be finalized the week of July 7th. Shortly after we were introduced to the “new owner” who told the world he was hiring and kept local contractors busy writing up quotes for pump work, enlarging and lining ponds and more. Just a few details at the lawyer’s office and the sale would be finalized; all would be joy and light, we were told.

But this week it all crumbled as we learned that the current owners had not verified the buyer’s source of funds, did not have a signed purchase agreement or even a deposit. Mr. Lamberson accused the potential buyer of trespassing, called the sheriff’s office and padlocked the doors.

Padlock
Jack Lamberson took out his drill and bolted this padlock to the front doors of the golf course on July 26, 2016. Good luck to the woodworker who has to restore this beautiful old wood door one day!

Mr. Lamberson is behind on the mortgage and swears he’s not going to spend another dime on the property. He’s open to selling to anyone willing to pay his price (far above market) and will consider any offer, even a deal with buyers wanting to locate a garbage dump in Gird Valley!

Of course Mr. Lamberson can sell to anyone he wants for whatever they HOPE they can do on the property for whatever price he can fetch. Good luck to him with that.

But we do have zoning laws and use regulations so people can’t just do whatever they want in our lovely neighborhood. This is especially important for large tracts of land that anchor whole communities.

So far this year, suggested uses have included a golf course (9 holes or 18), a restaurant/bakery and bar, nighttime golfing (think light pollution), a wedding venue, a vineyard with wine tasting, mitigation land banking (think San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course), residential development, senior housing, 5-story condos, casitas along the fairways, a runway for private planes, a mini-mall, commercial development, a used car lot, a cell phone tower site, marijuana farming (it is zoned Ag) and now a garbage dump. What’s next? Fracking?

We all have a front row seat for this foreclosure. Mr. Lamberson bought the course with 100% borrowed money and neglected to secure an independent appraisal. He overpaid and the bankers let him. These big money mistakes were followed by little ones, ill-conceived ideas, fumbles that quickly turned into folly. Sooner or later the piper has to be paid and now losses are being taken on the property.

In June, First National Denver sold $2.7 million in liens, due 2021, to DDay Capital, LLC, managed by attorney Ronald Richards. Richards negotiated the Notes down, possibly at a steep discount. Mr. Lamberson can attempt to negotiate his way out or make good on his mortgage payments. Otherwise he will have to pay off $2.7 million or forfeit the property.

In the next few weeks, it appears we will exit the Jack Lamberson era and enter the Ronald Richards era. Or maybe a garbage dump operator will swoop in and buy the place. Or Donald Trump will come in and try to raise the height limit to 5 stories and build a runway. I kid you not, Trump’s people think big and actually asked if this was an option!

Seriously folks, we enter into community covenants for just this reason, to avoid these sorts of battles and conflicts, so we can make long-term decisions without worrying about neighborhoods being ruined by whatever whim catches someone’s fancy.

This property is zoned Agricultural with special use permits for golf, open space and recreation. Its traditional uses include socializing at the bar and restaurant, the joys of live music, weddings and other celebrations. We do not take lightly anyone coming in and attempting to make changes that conflict with these uses.

Cheers
Yes, it really is a place where everyone knows your name! Photo: Teresa Platt, July 9, 2016.

So buyer BEWARE! You are warned, purchase at your own risk. GOLF, OPEN SPACE, RECREATION are the commitments you have from the community of Fallbrook and in the San Diego County General Plan. Stay within the traditional parameters for this property’s use and you will be welcomed with open arms! Deviate at your peril.

Be assured that if a new owners treats this property with respect, the community will rally to support them since only by making a profit will this property succeed!

Sincerely,

The Steering Committee
SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY TO SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE:

Send a letter to the bank asking for a management company ASAP!
Visit our website, urge your friends to sign up for our emails.
Send us an email and commit to a donation to help cover our expenses.
Add your online comments to articles about the course, keep the discussion going.

Home

2ndGreen
Just a few years ago, Fallbrook Golf Course was a Southern California gem. With your help, it can be again! SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com Photo: Teresa Platt, View from the second green, July 30, 2013.

The Deal Is Dead! Golf Course Needing TLC, Buyer with Vision!

June30SM
Fallbrook Golf Course’s back nine before the water was turned back on in July. Photo: Ken Seals, June 30, 2016.

SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE!

Fallbrook Golf Course’s owner Jack Lamberson stated in a Tuesday, July 26 interview with Tom Farrell of the Village News that negotiations have collapsed on the sale of the course to Harold and Linda Vaubel of HGM Enterprises of Arizona. Mr. Lamberson said:

“We have terminated all negotiations with Harold Vaubel. He’s been under orders to quit operating illegally here and has failed to do it. He had no authority to run it at all. The only thing we allowed was for him to resume watering. I broke off the negotiations because he’s not solvent. He can’t verify funds.”

As you recall, the Village News, San Diego Reader and The San Diego Union Tribune reported in early July that Fallbrook Golf Course was under new management, with a sale pending, to close within days. With the management agreement in place, Mr. Vaubel explained that he was bringing in Mr. Cary Lee and his Candyl Golf Group crew to begin the laborious task of restoring the course. But as Mr. Lee told the Village News:

“My relationship with Harold started to go south when I asked him when I was going to get paid. Harold owes me money. He said he was going to send me a check and I still haven’t received it.”

The neighbors knew none of this when they saw activity at the course, learned that workers were being hired, saw the water turned back on, which saved the greens and tees from being destroyed this summer. With its deep roots dating back to the 1960s, the course greened-up immediately.

3rdgreen
The tattered third tee greening up after only three light applications of H20! June 30 and July 9, 2016.

As for the ongoing process of selling Fallbrook Golf Course, Mr. Lamberson assured the Village News that he has other interested buyers so the community remains hopeful that a sale to an experienced golf course operator will be finalized soon!

Cheers
Yes, it is a place where everyone knows your name! Photo: Teresa Platt, July 9, 2016.

We know the community will rally to support the new owner since only by making a profit will this golf course succeed! Play a round, buy a round!

We will keep you posted and, hopefully, our next email will announce that a sale is completed! Finally!

Thank you!

Sincerely,

The Steering Committee
SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY TO SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE:

Send a letter to the bank asking for a management company ASAP!
Visit our website, urge your friends to sign up for our emails.
Send us an email and commit to a donation to help cover our expenses.
Add your online comments to articles about the course, keep the discussion going.

Home

2ndGreen
Just a few years ago, Fallbrook Golf Course was a Southern California gem. With your help, it can be again! SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com Photo: Teresa Platt, View from the second green, July 30, 2013.

A New Deal at Fallbrook Golf Course?

It was announced last week that there would soon be a welcome change in management at Fallbrook Golf Course.

Notice2

By June 28th, there was a verbal deal on the table between Jack Lamberson and Harold Vaubel of HGM Golf Enterprises of Arizona. There are still legal documents to be drafted and signed but Mr. Vaubel feels confident enough about the deal that he and his crew have began working on the golf course, with special attention being paid to the greens.

Mr. Vaubel, who is an agronomist and retired golf course superintendent, believes he can successfully restore the golf course to its former glory. And not a moment too soon. The fairways haven’t been watered since April of 2015 and the greens are sadly neglected. Fallbrook Golf Course will test Mr. Vaubel’s team and, once restored, be a wonderful advertisement of their knowledge, expertise and skills.

Fairway22
Fallbrook’s front nine, fairway #2. Photo: Joan McConnell, June 26, 2016.

We can only hope that a deal will be finalized soon and the course will be saved. The community wholeheartedly supports a new owner!

Additionally, SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com would like to establish a non-profit to organize and underwrite juvenile golf efforts and other tax-exempt work. If you are interested in being part of this worthy endeavor, please contact us.

Stay tuned! Thank you!

Sincerely,

The Steering Committee
SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY TO SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE:

Send a letter to the bank asking for a management company ASAP!
Visit our website, urge your friends to sign up for our emails.
Send us an email and commit to a donation to help cover our expenses.
Add your online comments to articles about the course, keep the discussion going.

Home

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ: April 2017: What’s the latest on SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com? We are now SaveGirdValley.com. Join us!

FAQ: What is the history of the course? See here.

FAQ: Where do I find info on publicly available legal documents like current loans, plot maps, etc.? See here.

FAQ: Can the course become residential, commercial or mitigation bank land under the CWA? See here.

FAQ: What are conservation easements? See here.

Home

Save the Greens!

May30SM
Fallbrook’s back-nine fairways have not been watered since April 2015 and it shows. Are the greens next? Photo: Ken Seals, May 30, 2016.

It’s official. This sign was posted in several locations at the golf course on Friday.

Notice2

The golf course is closed. Again.

Abandoned. Again.

What can you do? We need you to urge the bank to put a management company in place to save the golf course, its rapidly-declining asset, our neighborhood golf course, the gem of Gird Valley!

Yes, the fairways are trashed and will need to be re-seeded but now the greens are at risk. At an estimated value of $20,000 per hole, the greens represent a substantial portion of the remaining value of the course. With the arrival of hot summer weather, we would hate to see $360,000 dry up by mid-July!

Here is a sample letter urging the bank to manage its asset. Send your letter to Andrea Hageman at First National Denver at ahageman@firstnationaldenver.com and send a copy to us at SaveFallbrookGolfCourse@gmail.com.

We also need you to revisit all the articles that have been generated on the course’s situation and add more comments. Keep the conversation going! We expect more articles this week so stay tuned!

To help refresh your memory, we’ve worked up a brief summary on the golf course situation.

Additionally, we note that July 1 marks the 4-year anniversary of the management of the Lamberson Family Trust. Four years but it seems like forever. In that short time, we’ve seen a well run, busy, much-loved establishment replaced by the non-entity that was Jack’s Place, followed by the pipe dream that was AJ’s Taphouse (Grand Opening: June 27, 2015), all the promises that never materialized.

Taphouse2

The breakfast service was cancelled and the water was turned off fairways in April 2015 and the neighborhood prayed for a new and experienced owner to step in and save the course as the gem of Gird Valley became what Tod Leonard, The San Diego Union Tribune‘s golf writer, described as a “cow pasture of a course.”

By January 2016, owner Jack Lamberson’s misguided intent to pursue residential development and mitigation banking (along the lines of what we see at San Luis Rey Downs) triggered the founding of SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com. Within a short time, we’d discovered that residential development of any density was impossible and mitigation banking was another unviable option. We quickly generated interest among qualified buyers but the owner was unable to make a deal. This inaction resulted in more neglect of the course.

Fairway22
Fallbrook’s front nine, fairway #2. Photo: Joan McConnell, June 26, 2016.

At this point, since the current owner has abandoned the property, we urge the lien holder, First National Denver, to meet its responsibility to maintain its asset until a new golf course owner … a most welcome owner … takes possession and saves the gem of Gird Valley and Fallbrook!

Save Fallbrook Golf Course! Save The Greens!

Sincerely,

The Steering Committee
SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY TO SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE:

Send a letter to the bank asking for a management company ASAP!
Visit our website, urge your friends to sign up for our emails.
Send us an email and commit to a donation to help cover our expenses.
Add your online comments to articles about the course, keep the discussion going.

Home

FAQ: Can course become residential or mitigation bank land under CWA?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: We are regularly asked, can this course become residential or commercial development land or mitigation bank land under the Clean Water Act? What can it be?

The short answer is NO because there are several key factors at play.

THE BASICS: The historical zoning is Agricultural with special use permits for operation. The Fallbrook Golf Course consists of 116 acres made up of 9 tax assessors’ parcels but it is only 2 legal parcels. Six of the 9 tax assessors’ parcels hold Special Use Permits allowing use as “Recreational-Vacant Land” and three parcels as “Golf Course.” Any change in use can trigger the necessity of acquiring a new permit, a zoning change and/or subdividing the property in compliance with the Subdivision Map Act.

RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT: It is very difficult to change Agricultural Zoning to high density residential or commercial zoning. Even if rezoning to Residential could be accomplished, the San Diego General Plan restricts development to 4, 8 or 16 acres per house, depending on slope. Add in setbacks for riparian and flood plan areas, roads, utilities and the various easements that exist on the property and this project is quickly rendered financially unviable. Because the golf course is located in a flood plan in low density, semi-rural Fallbrook, increasing building density or height limits requires changing the San Diego County General Plan, an onerous process with no guarantee of success.

There are far better properties available for development for far less money in North San Diego County.

MITIGATION BANKING: For mitigation bankers seeking limited acreage on the back nine near the semi-dry creek for developing into fenced-off mitigation bank land (under the Clean Water Act) purposes, the property must be subdivided first and its zoning and use changed from Open Space/Recreational to a fenced, closed property. Without community support, this change is highly unlikely to receive County approval since both the County Plan and the Fallbrook Community Plan both contain language protecting Open Space/Recreational land. Additionally, in its current form, the Subdivision Map Act requires any buyer to acquire the entire back nine parcel which also includes the parking lot and restaurant/bar. Add in that the location is not prime for mitigation banking purposes because there is little above-ground water in the area. Therefore, this purchase does not pencil out for a mitigation banker who is interested in wetlands to offset loss of wetlands in other parts of the County.

Again, there are far better properties available for mitigation banking for far less money in North San Diego County. However, this is an area that a new owner might explore since mitigation land banking has been done in conjunction with working golf/recreational/agricultural properties. Budget 5 years for paperwork, another 5 for enhancement before seeing non-repeating income from the sale of mitigation land banking credits.

In summary, due to restrictions in San Diego County General Plan, the Subdivision Map Act, and simple economics, golf or agricultural use is a great future for the property. Add in wedding venue, combined with a restaurant, bar and a new owner would have a viable business model. Adding conservation easements to the property will generate tax benefits to the owners while delivering a wonderful gift to the community.

For the right buyer, this is an amazing opportunity to buy!

CONSERVATION EASEMENTS/CONVENANTS DELIVER ADDITIONAL BENEFITS TO THE COMMUNITY AND A NEW OWNER:  Conservation easements/covenants are commitments to forego certain potentially valuable development rights in return for tax benefits to the owner. This additional layer of assurance to the community means that the property will never be developed. See this link on conservation easements/covenants. We are also happy to connect you to experts in this area. Just ask! Thank you!

***

Meanwhile, when evaluating the potential earning capacity of Fallbrook Golf Course as a golf course, it’s worth noting the AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOME in the area. These, of course, are an indicator of disposable incomes:

FALLBROOK: Average household income: $86,220. (For more info.)

GIRD VALLEY: Average household income: $151,575. (For more info.)

BONSALL: Average household income: $113,910. (For more info.)

Home

Lamberson Still Seeking Buyer for Fallbrook Golf Course

Apr29
Fallbrook’s fairways haven’t been watered since April 2015 and it shows. Photo back nine: Ken Seals, April 29, 2016 .

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE: Follow this link to recent press coverage in the Village News and submit your comments online ASAP!

The May 6 article, “Lamberson still seeking buyer for Fallbrook Golf Course”, reveals that there is much interest among buyers in purchasing and restoring the course.

The Village News‘ Tom Ferrall reports that Harold Vaubel (HGM Golf Enterprises) of Tucson, Arizona is attempting to negotiate a purchase.

Additionally, Anil Yadav, owner of the nearby Pala Mesa Resort, held an exploratory meeting about adding Fallbrook Golf Course to his golf portfolio which includes The Bridges Golf Club in San Ramon and Eagle Ridge in Gilroy.

According to the Village News, Mr. Yadav said, “If it financially made sense we would do it, but we’re not sure where we’re going to go yet. …The community is very active and that’s what [piqued] our interest.”

Mr. Yadav plans course restoration for Fallbrook Golf Course but he also offers years of restaurant experience, a valuable asset in this challenging time for golf operations. The Village News described Mr. Yadav as “a very successful entrepreneur who went from being a fry cook at Jack in the Box to owning more than 300 restaurants and employing more than 8,000 people”. Impressive indeed – an American success story!

June marks Mr. Lamberson’s fourth anniversary as the course’s owner and he’s been trying to sell it for most of that time, as a FSBO (For Sale By Owner).

Due to San Diego County land use restrictions, attempts to sell portions of the property to wetlands mitigation bankers or residential developers failed. More recent plans to erect a cell tower on the golf course appear to be equally ill-conceived.

While we wait for Fallbrook Golf Course to change ownership and be restored to the fabulous venue it once was, we would like to thank the North County Fire Protection District for its prompt response to complaints about debris, weeds and fire hazards. We look forward to seeing the neglected course cleaned up and greened up before the height of fire season.

With few golfers and limited hours of operation, we also ask that neighbors watch vigilantly for any illegal activities on the course such as loitering after hours, vagrancy, vandalism or any Public Nuisance (Sheriff’s Fallbrook substation: 760-451-3100, 911 for emergencies).

Let’s hope we don’t have any problems this summer. Let’s hope a new owner will soon be sprucing up the course! Let’s hope we’ll all be back at the bar and restaurant celebrating life’s events, birdies, bogeys and holes in one, tournaments and Junior Golf! What fun!! We can hardly wait!

Sincerely,

The Steering Committee
SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY TO SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE:

Visit our website, sign up for our emails.

Send us an email and tell us what you would like to do to help save the course.

Add your online comments to articles about the course, keep the discussion going.

SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com

Home

Email blasts

 

November 20, 2016: You’re Invited! Join Us and Meet Jade Work, the New Owner of 2757 Gird Road!

November 16, 2016: Breaking News! Escrow has closed! Fallbrook congratulates and thanks Jade and Julie Work!

October 29, 2016: Gird Valley Residents Support Close of Escrow ASAP!

September 22, 2016: Welcome to our new Gird Valley neighbors!

September 3, 2016: Here’s to good neighbors in Gird Valley…

July 29, 2016: What’s next? Golf course, mitigation land banking, high-density development, garbage dump?

July 27, 2016: The deal is dead! Golf course needing TLC seeking buyer with vision! 

July 9, 2016: Support your local golf course!

June 29, 2016: A new deal at Fallbrook Golf Course?

June 26, 2016: Save the greens!

May 7, 2016: What you can do to help save Fallbrook Golf Course.

Apr. 2, 2016: Dear future Fallbrook Golf Course owner.

Mar. 15, 2016: Fallbrook Golf Course to stay open … for now.

Mar. 5: Fallbrook Golf Course is closing on March 14. What happens after that?

Feb. 13, 2016: Announcement of Fallbrook Community Planning Group meeting.

February 11, 2016: What can you do to save Fallbrook Golf Course? 

Feb. 2, 2016: What can you do today to help save Fallbrook Golf Course?

January 29, 2016: Save Fallbrook Golf Course! Join us at the Library January 30. 

January 27, 2016: Save Fallbrook Golf Course!