Group looking to move forward with plans that include 9-hole golf course, new clubhouse
There’s finally some movement to reclaim at least some of the shuttered D’Andrea Golf Course and possibly develop some areas that have long since been overgrown by weeds.
Ever since the Sparks City Council took action on the property at its March 27, 2017 meeting, there has been movement by both angry homeowners and Will Gustafson, who owns the property that closed in 2012.
D’Andrea residents have been upset that their homes are losing value, their favorite 18-hole golf course is gone and replaced with overgrown weeds that may present a liability, and as the property falls into further disarray, no one has taken responsibility for fixing the problems.
However, last year D’Andrea resident Steve Trollope and Randi Thompson tried to come up with a solution by launching D’Andrea Rising, a project to resurrect the property into something that holds value and to what the residents want. The original proposal included plans to build an amphitheater, a performing arts center, convert the clubhouse into a wine tasting room, and plant vineyards along with a 9-hole golf course.
But what the residents really want is their 18-hole golf course back and were concerned about the noise, traffic, and costs of building an amphitheater, developing a performing arts center and planting vineyards. There continued to be a battle between residents, the current owner and D’Andrea Rising’s involvement as the property has been deteriorating.
At the March 27 meeting, Sparks City Council voted to allow its staff to file a petition to the court for declaratory relief and let the city to step in to end the nuisance and liability of the clubhouse if the owner continues to be unresponsive.
“In that last city council meeting when he put a lien on the property, Will called me that evening and said that the HOA was going to have a vote on April 26 and if they moved to support the project then he would clean up the property the next day. Although it didn’t happen the day after (the board did in fact to vote in support of moving forward with the D’Andrea Rising project), it does look like he has cleaned up the golf cart barn and the graffiti,” says Sparks City Councilman Ron Smith.
Meanwhile, Trollope and Thompson have been meeting with residents, the city, and the community to try to come up with a plan that appeases everyone. At the end of May, D’Andrea Rising sent out a press release stating that it is moving forward with Phase 1 of its redevelopment plan now that the D’Andrea Community Association’s Board of Directors have voted to amend the D ‘Andrea Development Standards Handbook to accommodate the project.
As the new board of directors was ushered in last fall, the main focus has been to protect the golf course’s interest. “(D’Andrea Rising) conceded to put in a 9-hole golf course with maybe another 9-hole course to follow later down the road,” says DCA Board Member Joe Canale. It’s also been of some residents’ understanding that the performing arts center and amphitheater development will be put on hold.
D’Andrea Rising soon came back to the DCA with a pared down plan that includes a 9-hole golf course, a rebuilt restaurant/clubhouse with possibly a beer or wine tasting room incorporated into it, and a few golf course holes to use as a practice facility. The DCA views the golf course as the first priority and requested that there be a condition in the contract or handbook that states that after the 9-hole golf course gets rebuilt then the owners have four years to put in a winery if it still makes sense for the area.
They’re also working on approval for a 72-unit single-family home development named Monticello that will be placed around the former 8th and 9th golf course holes.
The plans for the amended project have not yet been submitted to the city council, but it seems as though the D’Andrea residents and project managers have finally reached a compromise.
“This thing was all over the place but I think we’re on the right track now,” says D’Andrea resident Steve Swinburn. (He lives on the former #15 signature hole of the course that used to have a lake, but now “it’s a swamp full of weeds,” he says.)
“I can’t thank Joe enough as he’s been doing a lot in the background and he’s the one that got us to this point,” he adds. “I’m in favor of all of this, I think we’re in the right place to move forward.”
Although good things for D’Andrea are in the works, any transfer of ownership and proposed development is contingent on a clear title before Trollope and Thompson can close escrow. For the project to move forward, amendments to the DCA Handbook must be in place, the city must approve it, and D’Andrea Rising closes escrow before anyone can consider a 9-hole golf course being rebuilt.