Politics in Ahwatukee can be a lot like those in Washington, D.C. – divisive.
It should not be this way – gridlock and acrimony do not serve the public interest.
We are neighbors, homeowners and we are the consultants to the relatively new ownership group of the Club West golf course. We have worked tirelessly with anyone willing to participate in order to forge a better future for the property and the community.
We have challenged ourselves, and been challenged by others, to think both practically and creatively towards solutions that could and should ultimately be voted on by all 2,600 homeowners.
Between all the debate, litigation and hard feelings it sometimes feels like the situation is hopeless.
So much so that the Edge has invested thousands of hours along with over $300,000 of money to acquire the property, clean it up, hire consultants, engineer solutions and work with others to find the best way forward.
Perhaps we are too optimistic. But someone has to step up in order to dislodge this mess.
From the outset our hands have been extended in cooperation and collaboration.
You haven’t heard a lot from us because we have been hard at work with the community to create various options for your consideration. We have been informed by independent third parties that all of these options will increase all 2,600 homeowner’s property values to some degree. We hope to conduct an official, third party survey of these options and benefits once the divisiveness and litigation yields to mitigation, and cooperation for a positive resolution.
We would like to reiterate: No matter who is serving on the board we want to work with them and the community for progress. Anyone seeking election to the Board of Directors should represent the entire community and their focus should be solutions not litigation. It is currently very apparent that the interests and financial concerns of those who do not live adjacent to the property need proper representation.
We identified that very fact long ago. The property at the center of the debate is adjacent to just 12 percent of the homeowners in our HOA. Any successful solution must be commensurate to costs and benefits received. In other words - Homeowners who are not adjacent to the property should not be forced to finance any action or mitigation of the land that some consider to be their “own backyards”.
This inalienable fact along with three other dynamics challenge any solution:
1) Current conditions of the property require significant investment;
2) There is no suitable, sustainable, cost-effective water;
3) There is an undeniable lack of interest – despite our solicitations and those from others – from golf course operators to fund restoration and operations of a golf course;
That’s the bad news. The good news is that your input and the work of the Community Advisory Group has led to several potential solutions.
We created flexibility for community approved options by identifying creative funding methods in collaboration with the City of Phoenix’s Department of Community and Economic Development. The ability to tailor solutions to the Homeowner’s preference is further supported by the identification of land that can be responsibly developed with up to 45 single story homes – all of which would be more than 200 feet from any existing lot.
This is more than a “fairway” in golf terms and significantly more open space enjoyed by many existing homes currently adjacent to the property.
We have designed a Community Park that features desert landscape, multi-use trails, exercise stations, pickle ball courts, community gardens and community events such as The Club West Arts Festival.
This plan can be financed at no cost to the Community through the sale of less than 72 single-story home lots. Alternatively, this plan can be funded with any combination of lot sales, including the aforementioned 45 lots with a 200-foot buffer between each home, and Community contributions to reduce the required residential development.
This means The Park at Club West can be financed with zero development if so desired.
Our original golf redevelopment plan presented in January 2020, including an 18-hole short course with state of the art facilities remains viable as well with some level of development or creative financing.
We have options! Think how far we have come with robust discussion.
Please don’t believe the rhetoric some have offered as factual. As homeowners in and around Club West, our primary motive is to solve this seemingly intractable problem. We remain impartial to any approved revitalization plan and have again pledged to cap any ROI and provide transparency.
No matter how the upcoming elections turn out – and there are some very good people running in all camps, all with valid viewpoints – we remain committed to a favorable outcome.
We can’t emphasize enough our desire for respectful collaboration to unite and create the best possible future for Club West. Our HOA leadership positions and the HOA assessments should not be used to promote, fund litigation or finance solutions on the former golf course property, but to shepherd a timely resolution that serves the greater good of this Community.
We hope 2021 can be the year we all look back and realize the benefits we all have received from collaboration and compromise.
Bill McManus and Matt Shearer are with Community Land Solutions.