HOA purchases golf course, raising homeowner dues

HOA takes ownership of Arizona National Golf Club
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 7:03 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Sabino Springs Homeowners Association purchased the Arizona National Golf Club, which it surrounds, from Romspen Arizona National LLC for $1.5 million following a homeowner vote.

The purchase follows years of triumph and decline of the course dating to 2012, when existing owners fell behind in HOA assessments and water bills. The lack of payments resulted in Tucson Water cutting off service for a period of time.

Joanne Kos, chair of the ad hoc committee said since then the course bounced between ownership and management, resulting in water being shut off again annually in June to save money before the monsoon.

Kos said as the course declined, so did home values, marketability, and overall community satisfaction.

In 2017, Romspen’s management decided it needed to get out of thesituation without any additional investment. Kos said that was when the HOA was given an ultimatum, it would have to either contribute at least $300,000 annually or the course would be closed.

“I think it became obvious to the team early on, that the only way we could control our destiny would be to own this course. But it was also obvious to us that the homeowners were not in that place,” Kos said.

Since then, a special ad hoc committee has been discussing alternatives after having a rent-free lease for three years. On May 20, 2021, a vote was held for a special assessment of $100. Nearly 75% of the homeowners voted in favor of the purchase. Those who voted no either did not golf, wanted the course to be a wildlife conservatory or didn’t have the money.

“I think the people who voted ‘yes’ saw what was going on. The bank that owned this course owned another course in Tucson and he closed it just like he said he was going to do with this course. They saw that happening and they saw what that does to homeowner values, what that does to the atmosphere, Kos said. “The people who voted ‘no,’ first of all were non-golfers, moved into the community not because of the golf course, but because it was beautiful.”

Homeowners are now paying $100 a month in dues to the course on top of their $100 HOA payments. Some homeowners say that’s too much money, but a majority is telling the HOA they think it’s reasonable.

“A majority (of homeowners) are elderly and some are snowbirds, this could be our last house and we wanted to enjoy life and we wanted to be able to look at the mountains and look out and see these vast green fairways and manicured greens,” said Dennis Bishop, homeowner.

Since the HOA took ownership of the course, John Green from the Sabino Springs HOA Finance Committee, said it’s operating above projections despite COVID-19 struggles.

“When we started it was $100 a month coming in for over 515 families and we really had no money, so it was a stress, in the beginning, to make sure we kept this place going,” Green said. “Now, we have a little bit of a cushion and can make some of the improvements to the amenities that homeowners want to see.”

Through the first nine months of this year, the course is almost $350,000 ahead of their projections. Both the course and its restaurant facility continue operations uninterrupted, managed by Troon, with the prior management and staff.

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