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City to explore feasibility of acquiring Casta Del Sol Golf Course for community benefit

Casta Del Sol Golf Course

The City of Mission Viejo is looking at the feasibility of purchasing the Casta Del Sol Golf Course after the City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to direct staff to evaluate the City’s interests in preserving the golf course for public purposes by acquiring the facility. 

Key issues under examination will be the condition of the course; costs to repair, renovate and enhance the facility and grounds; methods to fund the purchase; revenue and costs of the current course; and opportunities to raise revenues to help pay for the purchase. The City will also look at the interest and costs of obtaining the purchase rights from the current buyer, long-range connectivity with the trail and neighboring City recreation facilities; and the community’s vision for the property’s use. There is much to be learned and evaluated, so the City Council and residents can be the best stewards of the City’s money. 

Designed in 1970, the 3,760-yard course has long been a significant community-oriented property with an emphasis on benefiting the residents and guests of the Casta Del Sol development and with general use by residents of Palmia and the entire Mission Viejo community. The property owner placed the golf course on the market. As part of its due diligence, the City will explore the idea of preserving a golf course use, enhancing the current uses as well as potential future uses on site for wider community benefit.

See the full City Council discussion on the matter at this link.

Comments

Submitted by Norman Ray on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 6:19 pm

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My family and I are 100% behind this venture and would be willing to work with fundraising events to make this happen. Thank you.

Norman (Jerry) Ray Ed.D
Retired Principal
Los Alisos Intermediate School

Former Board Member
Mission Viejo Nadadores

Submitted by gary mueller on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 6:42 pm

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Please purchase the property so we don't see anymore high density housing. We could use a larger dog park and charge owners a fee for use. Also it could become a great recreation area along with maintaining a golf course. There would be so much more opportunities and a true open space park.

Submitted by Shirley Parmeter on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 7:04 pm

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Certainly hope that this will work out and I am not a golfer. It is in everyone's best interest to preserve any open land within the city. My fear is that it will be used for multifamily housing. I do know that part of it is a flood plain and not for building but there is so little open space here and we should preserve it at any cost.

Submitted by Beth on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 7:09 pm

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It would be great for the city of Mission Viejo to take ownership of this course, and connect it to the Oso Trail. If the Clubhouse was rebuilt or modernized, it could be a nice place to dine for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. Weddings and special events could also be held there. This course is used by golfers of all ages, but a nice clubhouse would draw in the general public.

Submitted by Carol Bloner on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 8:06 pm

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I am against purchasing this golf course if doing so raises property taxes one penny or creates a special or ongoing assessment as does Lake Mission Viejo. With the lake, I already am paying for an "enhancement" that offers nothing for me. That there is no walk around the lake at lake level is outrageous. If yearly dues are not mega-times higher for lake front houses they should be. Why should every Mission Viejo property owner subsidize lake front residents?
I drive by the new diving facility several times each day. Only one time have I seen a person on a diving platform. Let's not acquire a third special use property.

Submitted by Roger and Kath… on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 8:11 pm

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So happy to hear this. As MV residents and avid golfers we would love to have the city own the facility and update the aging property.
Thank you!

Submitted by Randy Sanchez on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 9:16 pm

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I really like the city’s thought process in evaluating this opportunity. The interest in trails and connectivity with nearby recreation facilities is promising.

Submitted by CN on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 9:28 pm

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The beautiful scenic City Of Yorba Linda (YL) in North Orange County has similar attributes like beautiful Mission Viejo (MV)! YL has city (now owned) Black Gold golf course in the beautiful very scenic hills. The city of MV even though their are some differences in circumstances can learn & get valuable insight from the YL city councilman in regards to the golf course in MV. The homes surrounding YL’s Black Gold golf course are mostly newer and over one million and upwards so peppery values can be impacted either positively or negatively like with the situation with the MV golf course. So it would be good to gob& see Black Gold meet with the YL city council & it could be very beneficial learning all they know about a city owned golf course. It would unfortunate for the property owners if that land is changed from a highly desirable adjacent golf course, versus building a or other uses. A park or golf course would be beneficial to the beautiful & scenic high end city of MV, just like it us to the beautiful & scenic high end city of YL. Hope this helps since many similarities to both Orange County locations. Love both of the beautiful outdoor very family orientated cities!

Submitted by Harold F. Steele on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 5:39 am

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Buy the course, improve it, properly maintain it and keep it as a golf course. The City already has the virtually adjacent swim complex and numerous parks and tennis courts within a mile of the subject, so another park is not necessary.

Submitted by Ed Tutton on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 7:33 am

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I would be in favor of the purchase ,,,,,in addition I hope you would consider expanding the course to full size utilizing the land on the south side of Casta del Sol Blvd and completing the OSO trail from Jeronimo to the new section of the golf course

Submitted by Tom on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 9:46 am

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Please buy the Golf Course! I do not play golf but appreciate the quality of life that MV affords. This quality of life surely comes at a cost. I implore you to understand that while some will bock at the cost and some will argue here to buy the golf course that the 99% of remaining residents have busy life’s and have elected you for your protection. This 99% won’t say anything until PRES puts a fence around it, has random lane closures on Marguerite and Jeronimo, adds more traffic lights, levels it, years of construction traffic, massive retaining walls, the 10 years of dust, and the potential 1300 + homes or who knows how many 4 story apartment buildings. Those 99% of residents elected you to maintain their quality of life. May god guide you with this burden of this decision.

Submitted by Sean Murphy on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 9:51 am

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Purchase the golf course for community use.

This would be a great purchase for the community. I am not a fan of golf or its large use of open land, but it would be a great benefit to keep the driving range and maybe 9 holes and have the other side as general use park. Find a way to connect the trail all the way to the lake facilities as well. With its proximity to the lake could it be part of a greater MV Lake recreation area? Keep this as an open space will only help keep our MV a popular community in Orange County.

Submitted by Kevin on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:02 am

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Please preserve the golf course. This has been shown to be positive for other cities when properly operated. Golf is a wonderful sport for kids and Casta is a perfect youth course. Preserving the golf course and stopping high density housing should be a priority for all in the City of Mission Viejo. Don"t turn MV into Irvine by jamming housing into areas that don't fit. I ask the city expedites this acquisition to prevent the State of California limiting the City's capability to control development in the near future. Thank you for taking public comments and being transparent!

Submitted by Ralph Bobsin on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:05 am

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If it’s for sale buy it. Everyone benefits even if not a golfer by having these types of amenities here. Mission Viejo brand is one of a family oriented healthy lifestyle city. Just like the Aquatics complex, it adds value to the community brand which I turn helps real estate values and makes Mission Viejo a great community to live in.

Submitted by Pat Schubert on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:40 am

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Please purchase and preserve the golf course. Golf is a sport for all ages. My husband and I are in our 80s and try to play at Casta once a week. We can’t walk but it’s manageable for us with a cart. There are many older couples like us in Mission Viejo for whom this course is our main outdoor experience. We would be glad to help in any way with fundraising to keep this valuable community asset.

Submitted by Rick Henry on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 11:19 am

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I would be a shame and a blemish on the City of Mission Viejo if they did not purchase and preserve the Costa del Sol golf course. This smaller golf course is challenging and also a fantastic course for new or less experienced golfers to play. Unlike many courses you can complete a round in under 4 hours which makes it ideal for golfers with families that do not appreciate being on the course for 5 or 6 hours.

Submitted by Demetri Class on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 11:28 am

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As a former Nadadore I remember riding past this place in the early 2000s on my way swim practice. It didn't seem developed at the time. I have no interest in golf, I hesitate to support public funding to improve a golf course. Sorry, golfers.
However, the benefits to public ownership of this land should be investigated. But more importantly, possible detriments to the community should the land shift hands privately. I feel like what may be happening is a hostage situation. The public has an understandable fear of high density housing. PRES and AGC may find leverage in negotiations by holding their right to develop over the city.
While the upper hand is privately held, the current community needs some public reassurances. Proceed with caution.

Submitted by Alan Smith on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 12:32 pm

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Please purchase the Golf Course and maintain as a Golf Course. Residents and Visitors of all ages need this size of local course. The nearby Lake Forest Golf practice facility is constantly busy bring up younger golfers through the First Tee program. The SCGA Juniors plays at Casta Del Sol quite often. The Men’s and Women”s Golf Leagues at Casta Del Sol have solid memberships. I agree a club house upgrade would be a great way to increase revenue with a better restaurant, events, and wedding facilities. The City of Mission Viejo should be proud to own this.

Submitted by Joseph on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 12:52 pm

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I have been a member of the Cast Del Sol, Saddleback
Men’s Golf Club for over thirty years, during those years
I lived in Redondo Beach and Huntington Beach, but always
Enjoyed a weekend round at Casta del Sol. Fit the last 17 years
I drive from Tustin, it is a delight to play within four hours.
With new attention to the dinning and bat, Mission Viejo
Would contribute to the value to the neighborhood and
Add to a social conscious community.

Submitted by Mary Burgess on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 1:41 pm

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This is a bonus to the community. I agree with prior comment...if upgrades are needed to hold other events, let's do it!

Submitted by David Dinnen on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 2:24 pm

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I think it would be a tremendous opportunity for the city to purchase the course! I'm sure after the purchase you could partner with some private investors to make improvements and enhance the experience at the course while still maintaining a fair priced round of golf for all the residents who enjoy it. If you look down in Laguna Beach at Ben Browns and their recent changes, they have had a huge success! Mission Viejo is showing its age and who knows if that Oso Creek revitalization thing will ever happen, so why not take advantage of acquiring the property? The new pool complex has been a great refresh. This would be adjacent to that and could start a good nucleus!
Unfortunately, I think the alternative would be a developer scooping it up and stuffing some high density apartments that are going to add congestion and drive down surrounding homes property values. At least that seems to be the trend in our surrounding cities. BUY IT!

Submitted by Jim Hayes on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 3:10 pm

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Mission Viejo should purchase and operate the course as a municipal golf course for use by the community. We have a private country club and a high end public play course, what we need is a place where kids an learn the game and folks can play at a reasonable rate. Municipal golf courses are frequently revenue generators for the cities that own them.

Submitted by SChancellor on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 3:12 pm

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Spending to acquire new facilities, add activities, etc. always sounds fun. Politicians love adding too. Government is not known to do things well, except spend money. Mission Viejo from day 1 has done things well. Primarily by contracting out services. Every new city employee is a tremendous exponential addition to long term costs. A new facility, especially a golf course, will be very expensive. Certainly there are revenues, but enough to truly offset current and long term costs?

Submitted by Marillyn Brame on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 3:37 pm

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Buy it. Anything else, particularly if it would be commercial buildings, will be of no culturally benefit and certainly would not help beautify the city. I am not a golfer but there are many in Mission Viejo who would be happy to pay some fee to use the course. Access from the trail to the golf course also would be an asset.

Submitted by Arlene Forrest on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 8:02 pm

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My friends and family and I have spent many, many happy hours on the Casta Del Sol Golf Course over the years. It has always been the "best buy in Orange County." We also like the restaurant and Club House. Please buy the Golf Course to keep all of us golfers very happy. It is a wonderful addition to the great life that we all have in Mission Viejo.

Submitted by Elizabeth Swanson on Sat, 07/13/2019 - 4:23 am

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Absolutely not. Financially, or otherwise, it would not benefit the city. Only a small percentage of the city's residents would use this and 100% of the residents would have to subsidize it.

Submitted by Craig Owings on Sat, 07/13/2019 - 10:55 am

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We do not want a mass of apartments there. It was mentioned to me that Gavin Newsome has mandated 10% of new built apartments be housing for section 8. Mass of people, traffic, and more crime expected which unfortunately accompanies government housing programs. More money needed to enlarge classrooms and pay for new teachers to accommodate the sudden influx of hundreds of new students.

Someone mentioned having to pay dues for the lake and is against it. Lake HOA dues - everyone knows are optional.

If the course is bought by a developer - we could have a monstrosity like the buildings near Costco off Crown Valley. And traffic. Housing values surrounding the course will
go down.

Submitted by Kent on Sat, 07/13/2019 - 11:48 am

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Casta del Sol needs to remain a golf course. I have been playing this course for over 30 years. My kids learned golf at Casta Del Sol. It would be a shame to remove this golf course and build a few homes. It would be great for the City of Mission Viejo to buy the course and preserve the course for many future generations!

Submitted by Ellen on Sun, 07/14/2019 - 4:34 am

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The idea of a municipal course for the city with opportunities to make it a valuable addition to the current recreational offering is FANTASTIC.

Submitted by Katie Foth on Sun, 07/14/2019 - 11:45 am

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We strongly support purchase of the course for the purpose of preserving a common area for the residents of the city. Please keep us updated with the status of the review.

Submitted by David Cosgrove on Tue, 07/16/2019 - 7:40 am

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I support preserving Casta del Sol as a golf course. It is an active and vibrant community asset, in addition to being an important venue for youth golf events. Mission Viejo prides itself on having a diverse offering of recreational facilities, and golf is a key component of the active lifestyle the city promotes. Casta del Sol’s challenging but approachable layout encourages youth and senior golfers, populations who benefit heavily from community recreational options. This golf course merits municipal investment.
.

Submitted by Ingmar Forster on Fri, 07/19/2019 - 3:47 pm

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Do not buy the golf course. Zoning should already dictate / control the uses of this property, the city of Mission Viejo should not have to buy the golf course to maintain its use as an open space, zoning should already cover that. After the millions of dollars lost, wasted, on bringing a minor league baseball team (20 years ago), the Kaliedescope shopping center, the City Hall construction cost over-runs, the Natadores swim facility upgrades- the last thing the city of Mission Viejo needs to do is a buy an existing golf course and turn it into a municipal property with all the corresponding costs and opportunities for corruption and cronyism. City government should not be looking to expand its reach in the city, rather let markets dictate what development occurs and control by using zoning. Above all, do this in an open manner.

Submitted by John Greci on Tue, 07/23/2019 - 7:28 am

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I support the purchase of the property in order to maintain the golf course for public use. The facility is currently one of a few public golf courses that serve the community and surrounding areas. It is a great way to preserve green space in our community.

Submitted by Timothy X Lane on Sat, 07/27/2019 - 3:16 pm

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Please purchase the golf course, I have been a resident of MV since 1972, now that am a senior I play, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The course is excellent for seniors and junior golfers alike. The SVUSD high school students play regularly, freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Keep Mission Viejo, the best community to live in by purchasing the golf course.

Submitted by Karen Owings on Fri, 08/02/2019 - 9:25 am

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Please purchase the golf course, our son and his children play there. Very few courses are good for young people to play, it is an outstanding place for adults and young people as well. Gold is a wonderful way for young folks to be outdoors and learning a skill.
We are in favor of purchasing the golf course!
Thank you,
Karen

Submitted by rick thompson on Tue, 08/06/2019 - 5:02 pm

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Please purchase the golf course. Its has been an iconic piece of the MV recreation life style. Open space and wildlife corridors are at a premium in many SoCal cities, Don't allow a developer to concrete over every open space in MV.

Submitted by Cathy Schlicht on Mon, 08/12/2019 - 10:30 am

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At the City Council special meeting held on July 9, 2019, former mayor Bob Breton made the following statement: “I am on the Planning Commission. We receive a lot of pressure from American Golf and from others who want to go in there and build some density housing, especially in the southern section.”

Consequently, I made a records request for evidence to support that statement.

The City’s response: “No applicable records are on file.”

We also heard from Mr. Breton that the City always had an interest in purchasing the golf course. How many times since cityhood has the golf course been put up for sale?

How come we are only learning about this now? In January 2015 the City Council rejected a $4.25 million request from American Golf for the City to purchase about 30 acres of vacant land from the golf course. I was on the council then. There was not any discussion about a desire to purchase the golf course.

Planning Commissioner Breton is advising the Council to purchase the golf course so we can construct dormitories to house swimmers from Russia, China, Australia and Germany as well as increase parking and trail enhancements. Why are our taxpayers responsible for housing?

Mayor Pro Tem Member Brian Goodell, who received a $47,500 campaign donation from real estate tycoon Donald Abbey, is also a real estate agent, who brought the sale to the City’s attention.

When did Goodell bring this possible purchase to the attention of the City? From council comments, it sounded like the City was aware of this sale for awhile. Was it agenda management or mismanagement to put this on the agenda at the last council meeting before summer break?

There has not been any robust public discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of public ownership. Again, the cart was put before the horse. The description under the Closed Session Agenda: discussion of price and terms.

About 10 years ago, to help protect the golf course from a zone change to housing, citizens put a Measure on the ballot. It was called Measure D, but was defeated by special interest money from Orange County Association of Realtors, Building Industry Association/OC, Orange County Business Council and other outside interests.

Brian Goodell was the Principle of an organization called Citizens to Protect Mission Viejo. This PAC opposed Measure D, the Initiative that would have given the citizens the right to vote in support of or in opposition to zone changes.

Two other sitting Council Members who also opposed Measure D are Trish Kelley, and Wendy Bucknum, who is a board member for the Building Industry Association (BIA/OC), and will be ‘networking with builders, developers and key business partners’ at the “Make a Splash In Community Planning” on 08/28/19 at the Marguerite Aquatic Center.

We are being told that city ownership would protect the golf course from development.

So what are we to believe....or who can we trust? Zoning changes are an option and not a right. It is the City Council who approves or denies zoning changes.

From observation, the City has not always developed a full or fair record in a timely fashion that allows the public to create an opinion or respond from an educated or informed position.

Emotional appeals or reactions from the public is a tool often used by this government.

Yes - Preserve the golf course, but not through City ownership. Government should not be competing with the private sector. Government does not know how to run a business. This will quickly become a money pit, as budgets always seem to explode.

Also, let’s not forget with the rebuild of the Marguerite Tennis Center and the Swim Complex for the Nadadores, both “members only” facilities, the City has already spent about $16 million in that part of town. The City Attorney said American Golf wants about $15 million for the golf course. If $30+ million is spent in that single area of our City, I would say that would be an uneven distribution of our tax dollars.

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