Are new houses required to have a walkable parkland?
Of course not! But that’s not what the Edge/CLS home developers are telling our community.
As you know, the Club West Conservancy continues to fully support the restoration of the full-length golf course as legally required in the Club West CC&Rs.
In our recent survey of the community, 77 percent of 800+ respondents said they would like to see golf return to Club West. However, because the survey also indicated that 85 percent of the community would be OK with a “parkland,” and The Edge is building a case for a grandiose parkland plan based on a community wish list, the CWC believes we should examine what The Edge’s parkland could mean.
First of all, what is a “parkland”?
The Edge is encouraging the community to define that as “asking for the moon.” The plans circulating from the Edge right now include such features as pickleball courts, a dog park, a frisbee golf course, a sculpture park, fitness stations, a sitting area with shade pavilion, etc.
They are also talking about extensive new landscaping that require a tremendous expense for irrigation for the next two years as the plants take root.
We don’t know how much of a check The Edge would be willing to write (essentially the “bribe”) to fund a frisbee golf course, sculpture park or whatever, but we all know there is no such thing as a “free lunch.”
The Edge might contribute money toward the cost of these parkland features, but only by selling new houses. The more parkland features community members put on the “wish list,” the more houses the Edge will say it must build to justify the cost.
The one thing we can count on in this deal is that the Edge will make their millions from new housing and then leave us with the ongoing future maintenance costs of the parkland and all those special features.
The Edge is only talking about parkland right now, not houses, but you can be certain that they will soon drop the hammer about the 100-300 new houses that the community MUST allow them to build to pay for it.
Moreover, the inflated expense for an elaborate parkland plan will also indirectly be paid by the entire community, which will see its open space views decimated, traffic increase, schools more crowded...all while suffering through 3-4 years of construction dust and noise.
The cost to golf lot owners who have houses built behind their backyards will be much more direct, as their property values will likely drop $50,000-$70,000 each.
Extravagant, expensive plans are fine, but what does this community really want in a walkable parkland?
There are endless possibilities, but we do know one thing for sure. The CWC’s recent survey indicated that 81 percent of homeowners would prefer to leave the land largely “as is” with modest maintenance versus allow new houses to be built.
Our discussions with local landscapers indicate that regular weed mowing, tree trimming, debris removal and sidewalk maintenance can be done for under $30,000 annually.
On a per homeowner basis, that’s only about $10 each, which is the same amount we donate to lighting the holiday trees on Chandler Blvd. every December, without giving up our rights to open space.
There is a real cost to the community here. We should ask ourselves, “Which parkland features would we want if the costs were paid by all homeowners equally?”
Money should be spent like it is your own, not your neighbors’.
Again, the Club West Conservancy believes that restoration of the golf course is the best outcome and therefore the golf course CC&Rs should be strictly enforced.
In addition, it is the position of the CWC that the HOA Board’s actions to dilute the votes necessary to change the CC&Rs is not legal. But if a parkland ever becomes a legitimate possibility, there are many affordable options that do not require surrender to an outside home developer.
We hope the community will not be intimidated by the scare tactics of The Edge home developers, who will cite inflated high-side costs to create an over-the-top parkland to justify the need to build as many houses as they can.
There’s nothing “just” about their plans.
Matthew Tyler is president of the Club West Conservancy.