Homeowners Association Wants To Buy Golf Course; Not Everyone Thinks It's A Great Idea

Sparks are flying in Atascocita over one homeowners association's proposal to buy a neighborhood golf course.

Michele Curtis, a member of the Atascocita Community Improvement Association, told Hair Balls she believes the board is overstepping the bounds carved out in the group's covenant by asking members to vote on buying the course, which the current owners closed last December. The owners are asking $2.5 million for the property, which ACIA Board President Phil Baumann says is about $11,500 per acre.

The board sent a notice to homeowners saying the added cost of purchasing the course would be about $360 a year -- with a $500 cap. This is on top of the $475 annual fees homeowners already pay.

Curtis said this amounts to "raiding" homeowners' pocket books, when many of them don't even want to own a golf course in the first place.

As she writes in her blog, "Too many Americans have to choose between whether they want electricity or medication that month....[one homeowner] may have to choose between medication and his home of many years just to be sure the houses on a golf course get a nice view in the backyard. But hey, that's just the way it goes, right?"

Curtis told Hair Balls that the board said an investor was also involved in the deal, but that when she asked board members about the investor's identity, the board was mum. Not so, says Baumann. The board is looking for financing prospects, but, Baumann said, there is no outside investor. If the AICA votes to buy the property, he adds, it wouldn't necessarily need to remain a golf course; other options include converting it to a green belt or park.

Baumann says that if the ACIA doesn't buy the course, any developer can swoop in and turn the property into anything they want, and possibly sully the beauty of the community in the process. Buying the property is the only way to ensure those in the community have control, he says. Otherwise, it could turn out to be "like a cancer plague within our community," he says.

To Hair Balls, there's not much difference between cancer and golf, but we understand the point. And the plan seems a bit vague, especially since Baumann told us they don't have anyone in mind to manage the golf course, if the homeowners choose to keep it.

There are also no plans for a property assessment, so we're not exactly sure why the board appears so content with the $2.5 million offer. Curtis told us that the golf course barely had any members when it closed in December; why would it be worth so much now?

There just seem to be too many unanswered questions. We'll be sure to follow this one closely.

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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow