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Otay Water District to Examine Action Regarding Failed Golf Course Site

May 3, 2018

By Mario A. Cortez
During a regular board meeting, the Otay Water District’s Board of Directors reviewed possible action regarding the best possible long-term use for the now-closed Salt Creek Golf Course Property in Eastlake.

The property, which belongs to the District, was leased to golfing companies from its opening in 2000. For the 18 years the course was in operation, all lessees failed to successfully turn profits from managing the course.

The board stated that it will evaluate all options for the property in a manner which is transparent and beneficial to both the District and ratepayers in the long run.

As part of the programmed presentation regarding the course, possible options were presented to the Board about usage of the site.

Among these was an interim usage of the property, which, according to a press release, may “include proposals from experienced golf course operators to lease the property and maintain it as a golf course.” Undertaking this process requires the District to follow a process that is expected to last nine months.

In accordance with the Surplus Land Act, if the District agrees that the golf course property is no longer needed after running an inventory of all land owned, then the District must undertake the procedures which the act mandates, leading to a months-long process.

During an April meeting, the District board unanimously decided to stop irrigating the course in an effort to keep rates for its over 200,000 customers from increasing after reviewing a study to determine the viability of either maintaining the course or repairing it at a later date, if needed.

On February 18, it was announced that golfing operations on the site would come to a halt at Salt Creek on March 18.

From the announcement, much began regarding the future of the site and whether the end of golf on the premises was a sign of future development on the 239-acre property.

The property has been discussed in previous board meetings of the Otay Water District
In the minutes from the District’s regular board meeting from June 7, 2017, it is reported that Board President Mark Robak had a meeting on May 12 regarding ownership concerns with the lessees.

Since then the course has been the subject of discussions and closed session meetings.
According to minutes, Robak has held meetings with Fred Grande and Bill McWethy, of final lessee company Pacific Hospitality Group, and an ad hoc development committee as early as June of 2017.

In last August’s regular board meeting, there was a closed session meeting which involved “price, terms of payment, or both” in relation to the “purchase, sale and/or lease of the property.”

No reportable actions came from this meeting. Similar closed session meetings regarding the property and negotiations have also been held in October and November of 2017.

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