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Opposition arises to SunLand proposal

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Not everyone is convinced the SunLand Golf and Country Club needs or deserves to be saved despite a recent fundraising campaign directed at SunLand Owners Association members.

“I’ve talked to every one of my neighbors and everyone in SunLand I know and they all are opposed,” said Chuck Howerton who has lived in the golf development north of Sequim for 10 years.

In an e-mail to SunLand Owners Association home-owners, the country club’s board of directors proposed charging each of SunLand’s residences $300 per year for golf course maintenance.

SunLand has about 750 residences, but the country club has only 195 members. The club’s membership has declined 50 percent since 2001, including 48 members who have left since February.

Howerton, who lives on the 17th fairway, said SunLand’s appeal is its strict convenants, conditions and restrictions, not the golf course.

Comparisons to other golf course communities is unfair because those courses are open yearround, he said.

Howerton has created a Web site entitled “SLOA Just Say No,” located at drchuckgd.com, that lays out his case against “the equivalent of the high-pressure sales pitches used by time share salesmen and others.”

It includes a rebuttal of the SunLand Preservation Project’s points and a competing real estate value analysis.

“Where did they get a 33 percent drop in property values? Mine don’t come anywhere near that,” Howerton said.

A real estate agent Howerton consulted determined living in SunLand provides a $1,117 increase in property value, which for a $300,000 home is “not significant.”

A comparison of median home prices in comparable Sequim neighborhoods shows they are $4,975 higher outside of SunLand, he said.

“So there’s no real advantage to SunLand. People move here and play golf but they don’t move here to play golf.”

Howerton said converting the golf course to a greenbelt would maintain the development’s ambience while being far less to maintain, he said.

“Someone mows my lawn now but it would be the same way if it was a park. I want to keep the ambience but we can do that with it as a park if we maintain it,” he said.

Maintenance costs would be less for a park because it wouldn’t require constant careful mowing of fairways and putting greens, Howerton said.

Converting the golf course to a greenbelt wouldn’t diminish property values, Howerton said.

Your property loses something from golfers always walking by, trampling flowers and tearing up shubbery, he said.

A neighbor even had his sprinkler system broken by a golfer looking for a lost ball, Howerton said.
“Golfers are destructive, I’d much rather have walkers.”

He has collected two five-gallon buckets of golf balls in two years, Howerton said.

Homeowners also would be able to walk on a greenbelt; they can’t walk on the cart paths or golf course now unless they are members, he said.

Community Events, April 2014

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