< New Lease proposal
A proposal by Fairbanks Country Club seeks to negotiate a new lease with the City of San Diego in exchange for reducing the Club's leasehold by approximately 100 acres, and related future use of the land currently occupied by a nine-hole golf course. The 100 acres was once valuable natural wetland habitat, located right on the San Dieguito River
< FRCC’S LEASE NEGOTIATIONS: IS TWO TIMES A CHARM?
For a second time (the first was in 2007), the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club (FRCC) is seeking ways to reduce its leasehold with the City of San Diego, in exchange for making some adjustments to their original contract. Annual rent, which is based on a percentage of sales, is about $900,000, not an insignificant amount for the cash-strapped City. The current lease runs until 2044.
Here is the back story: In 1986, the public lost use of almost 400 acres of open space in the San Dieguito River Valley when the City signed a lease with the FRCC to develop a private golf course. In 2003, the City made another misstep when they insisted that the Club develop an additional nine holes on the property, over the objections of both the Club and the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority. Unfortunately, development of a 27-hole course had been promised in the original lease and the City, in their unwillingness to acknowledge new “values concerning the protection of habitat areas,” demanded the additional development. To avoid losing their lease altogether, the Club was forced to build the new 9-hole course on 90 acres of natural habitat just east of the El Camino Real Bridge on the south side of the River.
Three years ago we, as a recognized stakeholder in the River Valley, reviewed the Club’s first proposal for a contract amendment, which included the exchange of the 9-hole course for an extension of the lease. The Friends decided there were just too many outstanding issues that had to be resolved: delinquent rental payments, unresolved mitigation requirements and unclear plans for future land use. Since then, the Club has agreed to pay their outstanding back rent and mitigation issues are now being negotiated.
We are willing to support this second proposal for a leasehold reduction and some adjustments to the original contract with the firm understanding that our priority is to have the released acreage become part of the San Dieguito River Park’s restored habitat program and that, under no circumstances, should the remaining acreage ever be sold to the Club or any other entity.
Further, we hope that all agencies that hold a stake in this matter continue to work on resolving issues of responsibility for the public trail on the north side of the River and that the released acreage should be considered as part of a comprehensive plan for the surrounding area, including the Polo Fields, redesign of the El Camino Real Bridge and the adjacent roadways and the recently restored San Dieguito Lagoon.
< Finally ResolvedA long-standing dispute between the City of San Diego and the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club over rent due since 2004 has been resolved, and the Club is now making payments toward the $235,183 amount. Under the terms of its lease with the City, the Club was to pay no rent until 2010 for use of public land in the San Dieguito River Valley unless memberships sold exceeded twenty-five million dollars. That threshold was passed in 2003 but the Club disputed the lease language and, after a single late payment in 2005, refused to pay the City the stipulated three percent of all memberships sold in excess of the twenty five million dollars.
The Friends began publicizing the rent due issue three years ago but our concerns were largely ignored by the City until the issue was taken to the City's Public Resources and Culture Committee, and the Real Estate Assets Department was asked to look into the matter. First District Councilmember Sherri Lightner, a Committee member, also brought the issue up at the City's Budget hearings earler this year.
Beginning this year the Club will also be paying a percentage of its gross receipts to the City. That amount is estimated to be about one million dollars annually.
< Money matters: Fairbanks Ranch Country Club
Please forward to all friends of our beautiful river park, so they
will see clearly that the city and the Mayor have options, and they
could exercise these options should they so choose. There is plenty
of money for studies and such, but no money for a legitimate
obligation freely entered into, that benefits the city of San Diego
disproportionately. And this article was published in JANUARY of this
< Money Matters
We have been informed by the Collection Division of the City Treasurer's Office that the matter has again been referred to "our legal unit." We have received no further information on the status of the rent due bill which now totals $264,000.