BThe owners of a Goleta golf club that is millions of dollars in debt are searching for new ways to make some green off their land, and according to the club’s manager, local residents might soon be living on the course instead of playing on it.
Glen Annie Golf Club General Manager Richard Nahas said ValleyCrest Companies, which owns the club, has been talking to professional developer John Dewey about potential uses for the club’s 156 acres of land. He said the course, which is located on Glen Annie Road, is currently $20 million in debt and is only worth $6 million. The course has lost money every year it has been open, and Dewey met with the Goleta City Council on Feb. 6 to discuss possible uses for the golf course’s land.
Some of the developer’s ideas for the land include the construction of new housing developments and public parks, Nahas said. He said the course would not undergo any major changes for at least a year.
“We’re in the middle of a discovery process comprised of meeting with community leaders and community members [and] asking their feelings about the property,” Nahas said.
Though the course is losing money every year, its owner is trying to keep it open to the public, Nahas said. He said ValleyCrest Companies wants to recoup some of the money it lost on the course, as well as provide an affordable place for local residents to golf.
“[ValleyCrest Companies] has basically been donating [the course] to the Santa Barbara golf community for years now,” Nahas said.
City council members were mostly quiet during the golf club’s presentation at the recent Goleta City Council meeting and offered few suggestions for the course, Goleta City Manager Daniel Singer said.
The council was not required to express any opinions about the golf course land, since the course is in an unincorporated part of the Goleta area and is not part of either Goleta or Santa Barbara, Singer said. He said city officials are interested in the possible construction of new houses on the land and he thinks the golf club’s owner should consider petitioning to become part of Goleta before starting construction on new housing on the land.
“If you’re going to talk about building houses, you should really be annexed into the city,” Singer said.
If ValleyCrest Companies decides to use or sell the land for housing, the golf course would have to be rezoned for urban usage by its owner, said John McInnes, director of Strategic and Long Range Planning for Santa Barbara County.
Kirsten Zimmer-Deshler, a public information director for the City of Goleta, said she thinks it makes sense for the city of Goleta to annex the land before it is rezoned because it could generate tax profits and other benefits for the city. She said the city cannot annex the land on its own, but the club’s owners can petition the Local Agency Formation Commission, which oversees all land rezoning and city expansion in Santa Barbara County, to become part of Goleta.
“[The Glen Annie Golf Club] would definitely be a logical area for the city to expand,” Zimmer-Deshler said. “Glen Annie is outside the city boundaries, but it has always been in the future planning area [for development].” Nahas said the club’s owners do not want the land to be used for high-density housing, even if it is rezoned and annexed to the city. However, he said he feels the construction of affordable housing on the land would help the community because it could provide homes for firefighters, law enforcement officers and teachers who currently cannot afford to live in the city because of the high price of real estate.
“We certainly don’t want to see super-density housing on the land,” Nahas said.