Hundreds of Escondido homeowners are fighting back against a developer who wants to build houses on the golf course which sits at the center of their community.
The group delivered thousands of signatures to city hall today to keep their neighborhood from changing. Many wore "Save the green space" T-shirts referring to their efforts against "Stuck in the Rough LLC" - which bought the golf course last year and then shut it down in April because it couldn't make money.
The company now plans to turn portions of the course into tract housing. Homeowners feel development was the group’s plan all along.
“We have a greedy, Beverly Hills land speculator that came in and snatched our golf course up for pennies on the dollar, he now wants to turn that into a multi-million dollar development because of his own greed,” said Jerry Swadley, a homeowner and president of the local HOA.
Swadley and others fear more housing development in place of the golf course will kill their property values and way of life, which is why they collected more than 9,000 signatures from people around the city.
The homeowners hope once the signatures are certified that the City Council will amend the language in the general plan to clearly state homes are not allowed to be built on the golf course. The two sides are in disagreement over what the current zoning allows. Stuck In The Rough LLC contends the petition is illegal, would infringe on their property rights, and recently filed a lawsuit to stop it.
“The general plans have been updated 3 times and each time it shows residential development” said Paul Robinson, an attorney representing Stuck In The Rough. “I hope the city of Escondido will compromise so a residential project everyone can live with can be developed there and so we can stop the fight.”
Homeowners like Barbara Moore, fresh off a recent victory to collect thousands of signatures, vowed to continue “I feel like we’re David and Goliath, and collectively we’re the stone that nailed the giant and that’s exactly what this is all about. Protecting our homes.”
The Escondido City Clerk’s office has 30 days to work with the Registrar of Voters office to certify the 9,360 signatures turned in by the homeowners. They were only required to gather 5,956 and hope the extras will protect against any found to be invalid.