November 27, 2015
From: A team of neighbors
Thank you Dave Steele, Robert McDonald, and Bob Kirtley for your candidacy and your commitment to this community, offering a new perspective and new direction for Arrowcreek. We certainly appreciate your pledge to maintain low HOA fees, and improve the amenities we already have as a community. Thank you also for explaining your views on why the current proposal for the purchase of the golf course land is not in the best interest of Arrowcreek homeowners, and for offering to at least look at different options.
Two of the Friends of Arrowcreek (FOA) supported candidates, Mr. Paul Burkett and Ms. Robin Rakusin (current board VP), as committee members and board member, already have had years to achieve most of the goals and fullfil the promises listed on their candidacy statements and on arrocreektruth. Both are members of the Arrowcreek Community Club Committee (ACCC), the committee negotiating with the FOA. Both have been advising the HOA board and Ms. Rakusin has been voting with the HOA board on its path towards a vote regarding the purchase of the golf course land that has polarized this community. There was no obligation to bring this proposal to homeowners by the board or its committees.
Mr. Burkett also currently is a co-chairman of the Communications Committee (CC). As such, he has been in a leading role guiding the strategy of informing homeowners regarding the golf course land purchase. The CC’s recommendation to finally allow an open debate format for the upcoming informational meetings was rejected by the board. We will be limited again by the old, regimented format of presentations followed by Q&A’s. This format has not worked in the past during HOA meetings. It has left many questions unasked and unanswered, prohibiting homeowners from knowing all the possible implications of the purchase of the land under the 36 holes the golf course. In addition, multiple public requests during HOA board meetings by homeowners for more detailed information were rejected, denied, or left unanswered by the ACCC’s spokesperson, Rich Kenny, and the current board. This hardly satisfies the need for transparency, open communication and discussion. We feel we truly need to replace the old ways with a fresh approach as envisioned by you three gentlemen.
Because you stand for open communication and transparency, we hope with you as new board members, we homeowners will have a chance of getting answers to the most immediate and pressing issue this community is facing: the golf course land purchase. Some of the main questions we have for you are:
1. What is the market value for the 475 acres of golf course land we are supposed to buy for $ 3.3M plus over $1M in interest? The Letter of Intent (LOI) does not include a purchase contingency based on a current assessment of the property’s value. Homeowners are expected to pay more for 475 acres than the FOA paid for 545 acres that also included the assets of the club house and other buildings/ facilities. Will you, Mr. Steele, Mr. McDonald, and Mr. Kirtley look into the option of negotiating a better purchase price for homeowners?
2. Homeowners will have no control over the FOA’s golf course business, nor will they have any control over when the FOA decides to downsize or declare bankruptcy. However, if the HOA ends up owning the golf course land, the failure of the Golf Club will directly increase homeowners’ financial liabilities in those cases. Is there a possibility of renegotiating the related terms of the purchase proposal?
3. What are the cost estimates for maintenance and replacement of the golf cart paths, bridges, viaducts and, most importantly, the base irrigation system we homeowners will be assessed for on top of the initial $31/m for the loan/reserve fund/property tax?
4. What is the basis of the recurring argument that we homeowners need to buy the golf course land to preserve our fire prevention zones? Is the FOA not responsible for that as the current owner of the land?
5. What is the basis of the recurring argument that homeowners need to buy the golf course land to prevent development? There are many obstacles to rezoning and development: https://arrowcreek411.com/2015/11/07/debunking-the-myth-of-developing-new-homes/. Would another obstacle not be the fact that the FOA LLC would have to decide who of its own shareholders, or who of its AC golf club members would accept having houses built on the golf course which they see directly from their homes, and accept the purported loss in home values? Would the HOA have any control over possible lawsuits that could once again taint the image of the AC community? Incidentally, Paul Burkett and Mark Toomey (the third candidate endorsed on arrowcreektruth by Mr. Gary Pestello, FOA chairman) were among the former litigants in 2006 as was Mr. Pestello.
6. What is the basis of the recurring argument that we homeowners need to buy the golf course land to prevent the courses from going brown? Would that not reduce the resale value of the golf course land for its current owners, the FOA LLC? The FOA’s chairman, Gary Pestello, did say that the FOA is prepared to do it on their own. This statement quoted in the RGJ has not been retracted to my knowledge. Will you Mr. Steele, Mr. McDonald, and Mr. Kirtley look into the option of taking Mr. Pestello up on his word and let the FOA own and manage the golf club like the golf club members in Montreux?
7. What is the basis of the recurring argument that we homeowners need to buy the golf course land to preserve property values? Month after month, the Washoe County Assessor reports have indicated that homes off the golf course trend to market price.
Secondly, proximity to open space, not necessarily golf courses, appears to be of increasing value these days (http://www.wsj.com/articles/luxury-home-developers-latest-pitch-unspoiled-nature-1446734336). However, the positive effect of golf courses or other kinds of green or open space diminishes very quickly, as “rapidly as 100 feet” (see: Do and Grudnitski (1995), referenced in the UNR Literature Review of Home Values). Buying and maintaining the golf course land is costly to homeowners. If we end up owning the land, what other options of nonprofit use do you see that would limit the financial burden of repurposing, and improve quality of life for all homeowners?
8. Why would allowing free enterprise to prevail not be the best option?
Mr. Steele, Mr. McDonald, Mr. Kirtley: We hope you will be elected to the HOA board. We hope the upcoming informational meetings will allow you three gentlemen to provide homeowners with some much needed answers.
Donna, Ellie, and a team of neighbors
“Some play the game, others change the way the game is played.”(Howard Putnam, Former CEO, Southwest & Braniff Airlines)
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Joyce Seelen – VP
Robert McDonald – Secretary
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