In an election, a vote like that would clearly be a landslide. But for the D’Andrea Homeowners Association’s 762 residents who voted “no” to increase their monthly fees and keep the local golf course open, it meant something closer to home.
“We’re all reasonable adults, we can make up our own minds. We cannot stretch our budget any further,” said Joan Browner, who sat and watched each envelope open as a table of eight men and women carefully checked for discrepancies and made sure everything was in order. A crowd filled the room as it witnessed its future unfold.
Though some homeowners, and one potential property owner, wanted desperately to keep the golf course open, the owner of D’Andrea confirmed to the Reno Gazette-Journal following the vote that because homeowners did not see the importance of investing to maintain their “beautiful community and way of life, Andrea Golf Holdings, LLC, cannot continue to operate the course at a loss … We will be closing the golf course immediately and permanently.”
For Toni Brehm, who found out this week that her bid was accepted to own a view home on the golf course at D’Andrea, the news was not welcome. Sitting near the front, with her hand on her chin, she wondered what her future held.
“It makes a big difference to me,” Brehm said. “I’m deciding whether or not to move into one of the homes on the golf course. It makes a big difference to me very much. It’s the fear of total unknown. It would make me probably say no to take that chance of now buying and not knowing what might happen.
“It takes the cherry off it.”
Many, like Brehm, fear another invester will purchase the golf-course property and build a new development, one that could erase picturesque views, the very purpose for which Brehm had selected her home.
A vote of “yes” would have raised the homeowners’ fees $28 a month, on top of the existing $48 a month. It would also would have given the homeowners ownership of the golf course and its Residents’ Club as a common element.
The “no” vote leaves the HOA with a question mark on how to pay back the utility bill it still owes the city of Reno for its water bill. The housing development still owes $146,000 on an outstanding water bill for the public golf course.
Browner, who lives in Villa Toscana but belongs to the same homeowners’ association, isn’t afraid of having the golf course returned to a natural state.
She talked to her husband Thursday morning about driving past another community that had returned a part of its lands to a natural landscape.
“I told my husband this morning, ‘look at this! It looks like any other area, wildlife and lands have returned to this area,” she said. “They can put some homes in. New groups of golf course developers can come and develop it, in any way they want.”
Those residents who supported the dues increase believed the golf course was a vital component of the D’Andrea community, propping up home values in an otherwise down real estate market.
Many residents were concerned that the golf course debt reflected systemic management problems that are not likely to be resolved easily. Moreover, many residents are retired, out of work and living on fixed incomes. The increase meant a loss of monthly funds they could use for gas and other necessities, Browner said.
In recent months, neighbors have watched as a line was drawn in the sand. There have been arguments for and against raising the price of fees erupting, but the fight is over for now. It still remains to be seen what will take the place of the golf course, where neighbors walked, took in the sights and where many residents took refuge from a busy day.
Jim Heryford agreed a while back that the increase in fees would be high but the value to homes was worth the price, citing the golf club’s impact on home values.
“(The course) is what makes this area attractive,” he said a few weeks ago. “You can’t take away one of the stools this area stands on.”