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News: 08/15/2019

Oakmont votes to raise dues, buy golf course

More work needed to seal the deal


Oakmont volunteers and staff counted ballots on Aug. 8. Photo by Alec Peters


In the end, it wasn’t even close.

A record number of voters overwhelmingly gave the Oakmont Village Association (OVA) permission to raise dues up to $17 a month to finance the purchase of the Oakmont Golf Club courses and facilities.

The vote was 1,968 to 707 – a victory margin of better than 2.5 to one, with an unprecedented turnout of 84 percent . Even if all eligible homeowners who did not cast ballots had voted “no,” the measure still would have passed with more than 60 percent.

It was, OVA board president Spanier said, “a huge vote of confidence and expression of faith.”

So is the fate of Oakmont’s failing golf courses finally decided?

Hardly.

“Now the real work begins,” Spanier said. “We just got over what is probably the biggest hurdle, but there is still much work to be done.” Optimistically, he said, with more due diligence on both sides, a purchase could be completed sometime in early October.

The immediate steps, Spanier said, are to craft a purchase and sale agreement with OGC and hopefully have it signed by the end of August. Under the terms of a preliminary letter of intent signed by the club and Oakmont Village Association, the OVA would pay $1.2 million to cover OGC debts and would assume its primary $2.4 million loan.

Spanier said the OVA is also on track to sign a lease agreement with Advance Golf Partners, an experienced private golf operator who would contribute $1 million for upgrades – primarily to the Quail Inn restaurant – and be responsible for golf-related costs including maintenance, taxes, and insurance.

Opponents, who for the last year have been raising funds for possible legal action against an OVA golf purchase, were quick to argue that nothing has been settled. The vote, they said, authorized the board to raise dues, but did not authorize it to purchase the golf club.

In late spring, the “No” side coalesced into a group calling itself the Oakmont Alliance.

“The vote is the outcome of a one-sided campaign conducted by the OVA Board and OGC over a period of several months,” said former OVA board president Ellen Leznik, speaking for the group. “Oakmont Alliance was effectively blocked from presenting its viewpoint on any official OVA channels. Therefore, we believe that our community was not allowed to hear the full story, including potential liabilities and negative consequences, necessary to make an informed decision.”

Nonsense, said Virginia Katz, speaking for the “Yes” campaign, who said her group is planning to donate leftover campaign funds to a fledgling effort to help Oakmont residents who may have trouble meeting dues requirements.

“The Yes campaign was also not allowed to use Oakmont official channels to present its viewpoints,” Katz said. “This campaign was hardly one-sided, but the results are considerably one-sided. To imply that Oakmont voters were too uneducated to vote intelligently could be viewed as nothing more than sour grapes. The OVA membership has spoken loud and clear. Perhaps the Oakmont Alliance should listen.”



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