SALEM, Ore. — The Creekside Homeowners Association Board is distancing itself from a proposal to assess each homeowner $90 a month to support a neighboring private golf club.
HOA Board president Audrey Konold sent the 588 homeowners a letter outlining the plan, which also would impose a 1 percent transfer fee on home sales, over Memorial Day weekend.
The letter directed homeowners to a website, keepourcreekside.com, which said a group of HOA board members and golf club members had worked for months to reach consensus on the plan.
But Konold now says that wasn’t the case.
“The (golf club) owners rejected all ideas provided by the committee and the owners provided their updated requirements, which is the proposal you received,” Konold wrote in a June 3 “clarifying letter” to homeowners. “It is not the proposal that was recommended by the HOA Board.”
Konold’s letter did not describe the HOA board’s proposal, and she did not respond to attempts to contact her.
The owners hired a Salem marketing firm, Public Affairs Counsel, which created the website claiming it was a consensus plan, she wrote.
Homeowners are scheduled to vote on the proposal on June 29.
The board has decided to remain neutral on the proposal, Konold wrote.
“What you do is your decision,” she wrote. “Your vote.”
Creekside Golf Club and the Creekside Estates neighborhood were created by the same developer, but otherwise have no legal or financial connection.
But many club members live in the neighborhood, and those with golf course views have an interest in preventing development. Some residents said they bought their homes thinking the golf course would always be there.
Tokarski and Kelly have been threatening to close the course and develop the property into homes for years.
In 2016, Tokarski filed a pre-development application with the city of Salem for a 354-unit planned development on the golf course site. At the time, city officials said storm water and wetland concerns could prevent some of that development.
The same year, club owners asked the homeowners association to raise HOA dues by $60 per month, in exchange for limited memberships in the club, raising about $400,000 per year.
When that failed, they asked the city of Salem to reduce the rate it charged for water, potentially saving the business $140,000 per year. That proposal, which would have raised residential water rates an average of $8 per year, also failed.
The latest proposal would raise about $4.2 million for the golf club over five years. In exchange, the club’s owners will pause any development plans during that period.
“This all feels very scummy to me and some others I’ve spoken to in the neighborhood,” Creekside homeowner Paul Hanz told the Statesman Journal. “If the golf course isn’t profitable, where are the owners finding the cash to hire their own marketing firm, PR contractors and engage in outreach to try and convince us to give them money?
“We’re being extorted to subsidize a private club to which we have no membership or tangible benefit and also subsidize those with course-side homes,” Hanz said. “Most of the neighborhood can’t even see the course from their homes, so why would we spend this much to keep a business afloat that in all likelihood is going to attempt to hold us to the coals and extort money in exchange for not leaving again?”