"The Key Question about Proposition H
is why are the locals so opposed to this plan
to build homes on the golf course?"
Recently released campaign financials show Mr. Schlesinger has personally written checks for $1M to fund the Yes on H campaign.
Ask yourself, "Why would One Man from LA spend over $1M to get legal control so he can effectively flip the property?"
Could it be that if he succeeds, he stands to pocket over $50M in quick profits? Remember, this man from LA is not a builder. He is a real estate speculator.
Using an army of political campaign professionals, this man is painting Proposition H as a way to 'solve the blight,' 'save water' and move the area forward from years of 'legal squabbles and decay.' All problems that he has caused!
Take a closer look at what is happening. His campaign template goes like this:
The former golf course had become an untenable business model and could not continue. He came to this conclusion based on a report he commissioned. Very convenient...
The neighborhood has become 'blighted' by the decaying condition of the former golf course. Due to his neglect, the golf course looks like a toxic waste dump! The blight he caused is a campaign tactic! It forces neighbors to choose between environmental destruction or new homes.
He claims he has the right to build because the golf course has always been zoned as R1.7 (SFH residential, 7 units per acre). This is a matter of legal interpretation which the City Council resolved by adopting the Homeowners Property Rights Initiative unanimously. The property is now legally restricted to open space/park/golf course uses only.The only way he can implement his plan is to fool the voters.
The measure is called an Open Space and Revitalization plan. A great example of Orwellian Doublespeak!
The truth is, what was open space will become high-density, wall-to-wall homes. The new open space will be about the size of the golf course's parking lot!
His campaign commissioned a report that claims the new houses will use 50% less water than the old golf course. The City of Escondido issued an impact report that says 430 new families will use 62% more water. They can't both be correct
This property speculator makes his living buying troubled properties and flipping them. His financial and legal tactics indicate a ruthlessness that cannot be trusted.
So let me ask the 'Key' question one more time... Why would One Man put over $1M of his own money into the campaign he is waging against thousands of local, grassroots volunteers?
The answer is obvious; it is all about money!
What a surprise!
Voters should be aware of the long term implications of giving any Special Interest so much power to determine the future of any neighborhood.
You neighborhood could be next!
We constantly hear the mantra from the Yes on Prop H people that The Lakes Specific Plan is a 'compromise' plan.
Here is the definition of 'compromise:'
"an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions."
I would ask the developer to give us ONE example of what he has contributed as a concession (hard to do since no compromise discussions were ever held.)
A wealthy property flipper, who doesn't live here, is spending nearly ten times as much as the local community opposition group, all of whom do live here and are volunteering their personal time and money to stop his self-serving plan that would deface the neighborhood.
He says he is spending the money to 'educate' people.
The truth is, he is trying to 'reeducate' people.
He has to convince voters that 430 homes won't increase our water shortage problem; that it won't exacerbate our traffic jams; that it will save us from the 'blight' that he caused.
The reason he has to spend so much money is because his hopes for a multimillion dollar payday are threatened by the courage and resolve of people who have invested their lives in this community, and we won't stand down!
In almost every discussion regarding the controversial Escondido Country Club property and Proposition H, I am asked about two legal issues:
I am no lawyer, and understanding property rights law is difficult even for the most qualified legal eagles. But I have uncovered two similar cases that have seen interesting, and maybe even surprising, rulings against property owners who want to convert golf course properties to residential housing tracts.
Here is a brief summary I have compiled from some legal websites.
Heatherwood Holdings, LLC vs. Homeowners
A federal court of appeals held that a golf course was encumbered by an implied restrictive covenant, preventing the foreclosing lender from selling the golf course for residential development.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit found that the original marketing of a subdivision where the golf course was located played a significant role in establishing an implied restrictive covenant.
Although the court found that there were no recorded covenants restricting the property's use to a golf course, it held that the property was limited to golf course use by an implied restrictive covenant, evidenced in large part by the testimony of homeowners who stated that the presence of the golf course was integral to their decisions to purchase in the subdivision.
Liberty Building Corporation vs. Skyline Woods Homeowners
In 2004, Skyline Woods Country Club LLC filed a voluntary petition for relief under chapter 11 bankruptcy. The court entered a sale order authorizing the sale of substantially all of the debtor’s assets, including a golf course, to an affiliate of Liberty Building Corp. The sale order provided that the sale was “free and clear of claims, liens and encumbrances.”
Months later, Liberty announced that it would not reopen the golf course, but rather would redevelop the property for other purposes (a housing tract).
Shortly thereafter, homeowners in the residential development located around the golf course brought suit against Liberty in Nebraska state court seeking to prohibit Liberty from using the property as anything other than a golf course.
The homeowners contended that:
On March 28, 2007, the state court granted the homeowners’ summary judgment motion, finding that the 'implied restrictive covenants'
B) Can a City legally down-zone a property after it is sold to someone who reasonably believes it is zoned for residential construction?
There are certain limitations on downzoning. The first limitation is the constitutional prohibition against taking private property without just compensation, stated in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. This has been interpreted as meaning that property cannot be rezoned to a category that leaves it with 'no reasonable economic use.'
For instance, property used as a golf course may be rezoned from residential (which usually permits golf course and other uses) to a category that allows the property to be used only as a golf course. This prevents redevelopment and presumably insures that the property will continue to be used as a golf course.
Contrary to the popular opinion, zoning does not go too far simply because it causes a loss. That act alone does not constitute a 'taking.'
In the case of the Escondido City Council's adaptation of the Homeowners Property Rights Initiative that effectively rezones the golf course as 'park/open space use only,' the new zoning would still allow the property to be used as a golf course.
Therefore, the new owner cannot claim the land has no reasonable use. He bought a golf course and can, reasonably, still use it as a golf course if he chooses.
What Happened to Our Community?
The story of how a quiet corner of paradise has devolved into
To review the timelines of this ongoing saga, just <click> on any Month below....
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