Letter from Resident to City Council

We received the below from a Brentwood resident:

In EBT’s 7/13/2018 news report on DRSL Development Project:

Jeff Farano is back to claiming there is a “small group of vocal opponents” even though we gave petition numbers of 2800+ on-line and 800+ paper at the City Council Meeting.

He also says opponents spread “misinformation” and created “fear and confusion”.  Please don’t let SunCoast discredit/trivialize the concerns of residents.  The city staff’s report supporting a recommendation to deny the project reflects many of the concerns of residents as well.  Is Jeff Farano saying that they are spreading misinformation and creating fear and confusion as well with their detailed analysis and findings?

Here is a letter written to Council and Commission to counter SunCoast’s latest letter to select residents:

Attention Commission and Council:

I received a letter (dated June 18) from Jeff Farano, Suncoast, explaining what they are doing and urging me to support the DRSL Development Project.

I was very disturbed by how he twisted the facts…to try and convince me/residents that the building of huge apartment complexes in Deer Ridge and Shadow Lakes is beneficial/an improvement. So I would appreciate it if you would read my response below before you make your decision on July 12 and in August.

Jeff Farano wrote: “We have tried everything to make the courses profitable and have even tried to sell to a golf buyer.  There has been virtually no interest and zero credible buyers.”

First, I’d like to say SunCoast did not try everything.

In 2017, the SL golf course and club house had been poorly maintained for years.  There were weeds everywhere and plants were extremely overgrown.  The club houses at both golf courses had areas that needed repairs and painting.  Things were falling apart.

When SL announced rotations, we all knew for sure it was not doing well. I met with Charles Fralix, the General Manager at the time, to see how we, residents, could help.

  • I suggested we could get volunteers to help but he said “no” because that was a liability.
  • I asked about getting additional funding from the owner to make repairs so the course and facilities can be more attractive. He said the owner would not increase their budget.

Second, we now know of an interested credible buyer.  Advance Golf made an offer and was turned down.  To this day, Jamie B. Miller of Advance Golf says their offer was credible. (See email below.)  And in the meanwhile, the golf course continues to deteriorate.  Now it will require a lot more money to rehabilitate.

Jeff Farano wrote: “After dozens of meeting with the community, we identified a solution that keeps golf in both neighborhoods and helps us continue financially with minimal impact.”

The fact is they did not meet with the community before the proposal was created.

They did meet with the community to share their final proposal and tried to convince residents that was the “only” solution.

They did meet with the community to ask their ideas for what to do with the closed golf holes.

If they had met with the community before creating their proposal, they would have known that many residents would not have wanted huge apartment complexes next to/near their homes.  That many residents would not consider their solution “minimal impact.’

They would have saved a lot of time and money. Money they could have used to maintain/improve the Shadow Lakes golf course making it more attractive to golfers.

I am not here to guess what residents want or what the best solution is. But I do know many do not want huge apartment complexes next to or near their homes.  Go to https://goo.gl/VLmjw9 and you will see 2800+ have signed the online petition against the high density apartment complexes.

Jeff Farano wrote. “The end result will be an appropriate and exciting reuse of the closed holes and a carefully maintained sustainable course together with new senior homes which will generate the funding for all the improvements as well as ongoing funding for maintenance.”

Don’t be fooled by his “end result” proclamations. The “senior homes” are huge apartment building complexes with a total of 560 units. The proposed apartment complex of 18.2 acres just for Shadow Lakes will be the largest apartment complex, both in mass and acreage, in all of Brentwood, present and pending.

The proposed apartment complex of 13.77 acres for Deer Ridge will be the third largest.

These proposed apartment complexes are very undesirable and extremely out of character with the low to very low density houses of these communities.

Many of us question if there are 560 seniors waiting to and can afford to rent out those apartments. These apartments would be charging a premium to fund a golf course that many seniors may not use.

What if these are not rented out?

What will they do if they cannot get that ongoing funding?

Then what?

Change “senior” to “regular” apartments?

Not maintain the combined golf course?

Jeff Farano wrote: The “other option is to close both courses, walk away and sell to a housing developer…looking to build everywhere. This would be a lose-lose for the owner and neighborhood.”

This is a loss only for the SunCoast. This is an empty threat.

If Suncoast can find such a clueless developer who would buy land that is zoned as follows: “All property described on the development plan and related exhibits as a golf course shall remain as open space, until such time as a golf course is deemed necessary for implementation. At no such time shall any residential development occur within that area designated as a golf course.”

Then, we say “Go ahead and sell it.”

If any housing developer wants to build houses on the golf courses/open spaces, s/he would have to go through a very challenging General Plan change and rezoning process. The same process Suncoast is going through now.

Hopefully that developer would be smart enough to get input from residents before they come up with plans.

Jeff Farano wrote: “We have heard rumors that there is nothing the city or community can do to ensure we actually do what we are proposing. The truth is we will enter into a development agreement with the city, a legally binding contract, to ensure we do as we have planned.”

This is not the whole truth. The present General Plan and Zoning are legally binding and yet anyone, like SunCoast, can come along and apply to change it.

The developer agreement may no longer be valid if the General Plan and/or zoning are changed by other developers.

And what consequence are there if the development agreement is not met?

What if SunCoast/developers declare the project unprofitable and/or declare they lack funds?

What can the city do?

Even if there are written/agreed upon consequences, how would these be enforced?

The city does not have the funds to be in lengthy litigation.

Jeff Farano wrote: “A recent impact analysis of the project found that the senior housing property taxes will generate an annual surplus of $105,370 to the city’s General Fund, $135,000 annually to the Fire Department, and $600,000 annually to local schools.”

First, we need to see that impact analysis so that these figures quoted are verified.

Second, we do not know if the amount $105, 370 would be enough to cover all the cost of city services that 560 plus new residents would generate.

We do not know how much of that $135,000 would actually go to local fire services and how much of that $600,000 would actually go to our schools.

I urge Council and Commission members not to take their numbers at face value. To question them and get the facts if those numbers matter.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter to me and many other residents because the huge apartment building complexes are not wanted in our community.  They are not a desirable element in our community.

After the proposal is rejected. I will be happy to be a part of a community group to discuss solutions and what is acceptable.

A concerned resident.

Email from Jamie B. Miller on 7/4/2018:

“As I have said in the past we have discussed with them a plan to buy. But because they are losing money (at both properties) NO bank will finance this plan. So they are looking for All Cash buyers. I have been in this business for over 30 years and I can count on 3 fingers the number of courses that sold for All Cash. And each of those was in a much better financial situation than Deer Ridge and Shadow Lakes. So they are incorrect and misrepresenting facts when they so there are “zero credible buyers.” Sure, the deal to buy those courses will have to be creative but it can be done AND we have proposed some creative plans to them already. But because they are not All Cash they were rejected.”