We know you’re out there, taking a serious look at Fallbrook Golf Course, shaking the bushes and kicking the tires! With gorgeous trees, fabulous weather, and a community that will enthusiastically welcome and support you, this course is poised for a new beginning and we wish you the best of luck.
When neighbors in Gird Valley learned in January that Fallbrook Golf Course was in serious jeopardy of being lost forever, we quickly mobilized our time, energy and resources to form SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com. Hundreds of people joined us and numerous press reports carried our message far and wide.
Nestled in beautiful Gird Valley, this golf course has been much loved by Fallbrook residents, golfers and non-golfers alike, for over 50 years. Unfortunately, over the last two years, the course lost much of its vitality, direction and appeal and customers drifted away.
SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com’s original purpose was to defend rural Gird Valley from proposals to convert the golf course to a housing development or to a fenced/closed area (mitigation land). Either of these options would result in the tragic loss of community recreational open space.
After much research we learned that such options are virtually impossible. We are very relieved because we believe that, under new ownership, this golf course will be revitalized.
As we are turning a corner, with several experienced golf course operators interested in a purchase and restoration of the course, we offer our group’s wholehearted support.
SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com is now working to create a new future where the golf course, the restaurant and our neighborhood bar, are brought back to their former glory.
Additionally, we are exploring the establishment of a community non-profit. This tax-exempt/public benefit organization would support junior and senior golf activities and preservation of the historic live oaks and other magnificent trees in Gird Valley.
Working together, Fallbrook Golf Course will be, once again, a Southern California gem.
Welcome to the neighborhood!
The Steering Committee
WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY TO SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE:
We know you’re out there, taking a serious look at Fallbrook Golf
Course, shaking the bushes and kicking the tires! With gorgeous trees,
fabulous weather, and a community that will enthusiastically welcome and
support you, this course is poised for a new beginning and we wish you
the best of luck.
When neighbors in Gird Valley learned in January that Fallbrook Golf
Course was in serious jeopardy of being lost forever, we quickly
mobilized our time, energy and resources to form
SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com. Hundreds of people joined us and numerous press reports carried our message far and wide.
This past week, SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com helped reporters generate four articles. The San Diego Union Tribune‘s Bob Pickard and the Village News‘ Tom Ferrall covered the announced March 14 closure of the course. When the owner back-tracked and cancelled the closure, San Diego Reader‘s Ken Leighton reported Jack Lamberson saying, “his longterm plans are to eventually divide the property and sell the back nine for mitigation and sell the front nine to a residential developer.”
“I visited the 56-year-old course on Thursday after several years of not seeing it and was shocked by the dire conditions. Fallbrook was a layout I enjoyed immensely because of its bucolic setting and distinctive routing. The front nine has always been open and fun; the tight, tree-lined back nine was a bear. The pictures on the course’s own website stoke my memories of how good and green it was. They are a heartbreaking reminder now.”
Leonard’s lengthy article states, “If there is not yet a manual for how to run a good and beloved golf course into the ground, the owner of Fallbrook Golf Club is writing it – one strange, sad chapter at a time…. [T]his is less about a tough economy or difficult water conditions. It’s about an owner who was never qualified nor ever seemed interested in running a successful golf course.”
Overextended golf course owners such as Jack Lamberson, upside down on mortgages, are trying to get that monkey off their backs. Many homeowners know what it’s like to be underwater, so one can sympathize. However, neighbors are right to be concerned since mitigation land banking (such as seen at the fallowed San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course) and residential or commercial development are all on the table and worried banks are watching.
Mitigation land bankers eyeing the golf course for revenue via the Clean Water Act need it subdivided so they can buy just the Live Oak Creek section running along the back nine. Add that process to a land use change and a new owner is looking at a decade or more, possibly an impossible venture.
Housing developers visiting Gird Valley look around, view the small lots lining the course and start counting dollars. What they need to understand is that the current San Diego County General Plan, finalized after the Gird Valley houses were built, “reduces housing capacity by 15% and shifts 20% of future growth from eastern back country areas to western communities.” It does this by requiring large lots in eastern Fallbrook, 4, 8 or 16 acres depending on the slope in areas designated as semi-rural. “Potential development and residential densities will typically be reduced where land is not already subdivided,” states the County’s General Plan.
The difficulties and costs associated with pursuing a variance to the General Plan, in addition to a zoning and land use changes, make development on the course financially prohibitive.
Former Fallbrook Golf Course owner Stacey Hart learned this lesson the hard way when he purchased 40 acres in Gird Valley intending to build 23 houses, only to discover he was legally entitled to build only 11 — if he could complete the long and expensive permitting process
Buyers doing their due diligence are uncovering these facts. First National Bank Denver, which carries the loan on this course, visited the Fallbrook Golf Course last week and is discovering what we now believe to be the case: it is unlikely that any housing development or mitigation land bank deal on Fallbrook Golf Course will ever close escrow.
Jack Lamberson states, “I could sell the front nine right now to a very solid developer for $3.5 million. (But) before I give it away for someone else to make money on, I would develop it myself.”
Golf reporter Tod Leonard admonished him: “Lamberson needs to come to his senses and realize this isn’t a parking lot or warehouse he owns. It’s a public entity that has provided pleasure to thousands for more than half a century. There is a legacy to be had here, and right now his is as crusty and forlorn as his fairways.”
Fallbrook Golf Course is a golf course, a much-loved golf course. There is great value in that.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY TO SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE: Visit the four articles and add your online comments. Keep the discussion going.
If you are on our email list, you’ve received an update on
the status of Fallbrook Golf Course. What can you do to help save
Fallbrook Golf Course? Follow the links below to recent press coverage
and submit your comments ASAP!
This past week, SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com helped reporters generate four articles. The San Diego Union Tribune‘s Bob Pickard and the Village News‘ Tom Ferrall covered the announced March 14 closure of the course. When the owner back-tracked and cancelled the closure, San Diego Reader‘s Ken Leightonreported
Jack Lamberson saying, “his longterm plans are to eventually divide the
property and sell the back nine for mitigation and sell the front nine
to a residential developer.”
Correspondence with Planning & Development Services, County of San Diego, re: the feasibility of subdividing Parcels 1 and 2 for sale as residential development lots or mitigation bank land; PLUS the difficulty of changing San Diego County General Plan for Major Use change.
On Mar. 8, the Save Fallbrook Golf Course Committee wrote to a groundwater geologist with Planning & Development Services. Following are our inquiry and the response.
From: joan mcconnell
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2016 4:26 PM
To: Bennett, Jim
Subject: Legal sale of non-subdivided property?
We previously corresponded by email on February 8, 2016 regarding community concerns arising over the sale and/or subdivision of the golf course property at 2757 Gird Road in Fallbrook.
The current owner is now advertising the property (see links below) offering a partial sale described as “Option 1.” My question for you is whether a partial sale is possible based on the legal description of the property?
Also, can you tell me what the minimum building lot size is for residential development of this property in the event an investor wished to subdivide.
Thank you very much for your timely assistance in this regard.
General Plan: For the Fallbrook Golf Course, the General Plan designation is Open Space Recreation. This designation has a required minimum lot size per residential unit of 4, 8, or 16 gross acres dependent on slope. In case your interested in seeing this information on a map, here is a link to the General Plan land use designations for Fallbrook: http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/pds/docs/GP/13-Fallbrook.pdf
Zoning: Separate from the General Plan, the Zoning Ordinance lists the site as requiring a minimum lot size per residential unit of 2 acres. With subdivision proposals, the more restrictive of the General Plan or Zoning is typically applied which in this case would be the General Plan designation.
The site is governed by a Major Use Permit from the 1970s for the golf course. To subdivide could potentially require a Major Use Permit modification, a tentative map or tentative parcel map, and possibly a General Plan amendment depending on the proposal. We would need a specific proposal to more thoroughly examine the issues in detail to determine the specific permit requirements.
Hope this helps.
Jim Bennett, PG #7707, CHG #854
County of San Diego
Planning & Development Services
5510 Overland Avenue, Third Floor, San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: 858-694-3820 Fax: 858-694-3373
PDS Website http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/pds/index.html
San Diego Union Tribune reports the owner of Fallbrook Golf Course will shut it down March 14 and cease all maintenance on the course. He continues to plan a sale to a mitigation land bank on the back nine, says he may attempt residential development on the front nine. You may also read the latest in theVillage News. Your comments are needed!
A BIG THANK YOU to Fallbrook for showing up in force at Fallbrook Library on Jan. 30 where we all began learning about the threats to life in Gird Valley! And thank you for attending or speaking during the Open Forum of Fallbrook Community Planning Group’s meeting on Feb. 15.
Oral presentations re: Fallbrook Golf Course were made, in order of appearance, by Teresa Platt, Dolly Harty, Sue Thorne, Bob Lindner, Larry Mitzner, Ed Erse, Judy Hughes, Brad Jordan and Bill Geffeney. Following are the prepared texts of oral presentations by Teresa Platt, Dolly Harty, Sue Thorne, Larry Mitzner, Judy Hughes and Bill Geffeney. If you would like your presentation to be included, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teresa Platt (2915 Lakemont Drive)
Good evening. My name is Teresa Platt and my home overlooks Fallbrook Golf Course’s third tee.
I share the concerns of my Gird Valley neighbors about the possible sale of any portion of the course to a developer seeking to fill the fairways with houses or to a mitigation land banker closing the area to public access.
In the 1960s, San Diego County granted Special Use Permits for this Agriculturally-zoned farmland—two parcels in all—converting it to a public Golf Course with Recreational/Open Space. By 1998, visitors and locals alike enjoyed 65,000 rounds of golf a year and we continue to love the course.
The Community holds the ultimate power over any land use so any attempt to modify the Special Use Permits on this 54-year-old course must earn our approval via Coordination with our elected representatives on the Fallbrook Community Planning Group.
North San Diego County’s growth is spiking mitigation land prices to almost $400,000 per acre. Speculators are eying and buying undeveloped and developed recreational land, golf courses, wineries and productive farmland in pursuit of this mitigation lands gold rush.
But Gird Valley residents are not willing to live for even six months with the disgraceful conditions seen at San Luis Rey Downs—never mind the decade required to navigate, at a glacial pace, a paperwork maze at multiple federal agencies, the local land permit process and the final transformation of the course into mitigation land—an often-dry marshland surrounded by a fence keeping the public out.
San Luis Rey Downs is now a weed patch and garbage dump, defaced by graffiti, bedeviled by vandalism. Lack of water has taken a toll on its wildlife. Only a program designed in DC to create wetlands could kill a golf course, along with its frogs!
The San Luis Rey Downs project managers should be held accountable for this debacle, not rewarded with another property to destroy. So we are working with our representatives in DC to shine the spotlight on the Clean Water Act and to restrict mitigation land banking to undeveloped land only.
The solution to Fallbrook Golf Course’s current woes is simple: a new and engaged owner operating under the Special Use Permits granted in the 1960s. Change is good but so is tradition.
Let us work together to avoid a future where we stand up and sadly say:
“Welcome to Fallbrook, the Friendly Village. Sorry, we have no public golf course. We had one, a good one. But we destroyed it. We once enjoyed blissful days chasing a little white ball around the cool green grass. We relaxed under magnificent oaks and towering sycamores. No more. We paved paradise and put in another housing development. Millions of dollars and a decade were squandered converting a small slice of the course to a sometimes-marshy spot along the back creek. You can see where the Fallbrook Golf Course once was—take a peek through the chain link fence behind the parking lot on the hill.”
I hope we never have to say this. Thank you and Save Fallbrook Golf Course and beautiful Gird Valley!
Dolly Harty (3502 Oak Cliff Drive)
My name is Dolly Harty, my husband Larry and I moved to Fallbrook 15 years ago. We live on the 6th fairway, a fairway that is sadly degrading.
We were lured to Fallbrook by the beauty and peacefulness of Gird Valley and the Fallbrook golf course and are shocked at the current state of the course.
Due to these concerns, we helped establish SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com with neighbors gathered around our kitchen table on Thursday, January 21st.
I joined the Fallbrook Women Golfers 18-hole golf club the year we moved to Fallbrook and have treasured my time on the course. The members of the Fallbrook Women Golfers have supported Fallbrook Golf Course for 54 years! But recently, the current course owners announced the closure of the back nine. Now we are forced to leave this golf course we love so much because we must belong to a regulation 18-hole course in order to continue our participation in county wide tournaments.
Recently I went over to hole #14 as it is the most beautiful part of the back nine to take some pictures so I would always remember this special course. I recalled a story about the previous owner who invited pro golfer Jack Nicklaus to visit. After they toured the course, the owner asked what he would do to improve it.
Jack’s comment was, “Nothing, they don’t make golf courses like this any more.”
Jack Nicklaus was right. Fallbrook Golf Course is a Southern California gem. Gird Valley is blessed with wonderful weather and treasures like Live Oak Park, the Small dog park and Myrtle Creek Botanical Garden. Even today, after 15 years living here, the serene drive down tree-lined Gird Road always makes my heart skip a beat.
Please! I urge you to oppose any land use change for this property that comes before you. I also ask any potential buyer to recognize that Fallbrook will wholeheartedly support new management committed to improving Fallbrook Golf Course for the benefit of the community, enhancing and preserving beautiful Gird Valley forever. But we are all united in our opposition to land use changes that do not benefit Fallbrook and Gird Valley!
Thank you for listening!
Good evening. My name is Sue Thorne and I have lived in Fallbrook since 1985. My home overlooks the Fallbrook Golf Course and I have watched, in frustration, as its current owner abuses this course.
It is vitally important for Fallbrook golfers, Gird Valley homeowners and Fallbrook’s reputation, that Fallbrook Golf Course be saved in its entirety as an 18-hole public course. Do not allow the current owner (who has done far too much damage to the Golf course and Club facilities already) to sell off this course piecemeal!
The current owner’s suggestion that golfers and the general public do not appreciate the hard work of the course’s staff is wrong, wrong, wrong. Unfortunately, any improvements claimed to have been made are now far outweighed by his deliberate downgrading of services in the clubhouse and lack of golf course management know-how.
The golfers do support the course and even with the threat of closure hanging over their heads, the men’s and ladies’ groups have voted to remain loyal to Fallbrook Golf Course as long as they possibly can. However, if it was reduced to 9-holes, they would be forced to move elsewhere. The question again is Where?
Where else in North County can they find an 18-hole course that welcomes the public, and is walkable and affordable?
Fallbrook Golf Club is a well-established 18-hole public golf course in a natural valley setting–not an architecturally designed country club that mandates the use of a cart to drive through gated communities from greens to tees. My husband and I fell in love with the course (and the friendly village of Fallbrook) in the 60’s when we were living in Los Angeles. It reminded us of the layout of many a British golf links. That’s why we chose to build our house on the last remaining lot overlooking the 2nd green.
Fallbrook Golf Course is one of the very special green attractions on the Fallbrook map, neighborhood friendly and a perfect match for the Fallbrook community as it appeals to families and retirees alike. Juniors enjoy clinics on the driving range, Fallbrook high school students use the course as their practice and match venue, and retirees enjoy midweek play at affordable rates.
It may not look at its best right now (thanks to drought conditions and mismanagement by the current owner) but this course is a survivor–54 years strong! With a firm community commitment to its future and a new and engaged owner, Fallbrook Golf course will see its 55th birthday and many, many more after that!
Let’s do everything in our power to free the Fallbrook Golf Course from its current owner and save it from anyone else who wants to destroy it via a land use change.
Let’s find that new, engaged owner — an experienced, Fallbrook-friendly golf operator. We will all support that owner fully!
Larry Mitzner (Northcliff Drive)
My name is Larry Mitzner and I live on Northcliff Drive in Fallbrook.
I am a member of the Fallbrook Senior Golf group and the Men’s Club at Fallbrook Golf Course. Up until recently, we played at Fallbrook Golf Course 2 to 3 days a week. My wife is a member of the Fallbrook Niners who play the course weekly.
I have been coming to the Fallbrook area and playing golf since 1972. We would regularly join groups of our friends and stay at local hotels and play the Fallbrook, San Luis Rey Downs and Pala Mesa golf courses.
In 1992 we moved here to enjoy the beautiful area and the golf courses we love. After 33 years as a Los Angeles County fireman, I retired and, we moved to a house in a neighborhood next to the Fallbrook Golf Course where I could enjoy my #1 passion: Golf.
Fallbrook Golf Course provides great defensible space for the home owners who live on the golf course but, with the potential sale of the golf course to a mitigation land bank, my greatest fear is that Fallbrook Golf Course will turn into a weed field which will leave all the houses in the area in grave fire danger.
If Fallbrook Golf Course becomes another San Luis Rey Downs, our homes will be in great jeopardy when the next firestorm comes to Fallbrook. That is not IF but WHEN the next fires come to the area!
Keeping an irrigated and manicured space, the golf course, will help reduce potential loss of homes when the next fires come.
I strongly urge the planning group consider what beautiful Gird Valley will look like if it is allowed to become another San Luis Rey Downs disaster.
Fallbrook needs the golf course and parks for the community to enjoy forever.
After all, recreation land, golf courses included, are considered a vital part of your very own Fallbrook Community Planning Group’s Fallbrook Community Plan, as incorporated into San Diego County’s General Plan!
Worked in Fallbrook/Bonsall since – 2008
Lived in Temecula from 2001 until we recently moved to Fallbrook
We chose Fallbrook for our Home and particularly Gird Valley because of its…
Sense of Community
Country in the City
We moved into our beautiful home only 3 months ago. Overlooking golf course, beautiful views, tranquility.
Hoping to enjoy amenities…golf, local restaurant, afterwork drinks
Then only two weeks ago became aware of golf course is in jeopardy, with overall reports of neglect over the last couple of years including…
Reduction of overall staff
Disrepair of golf greens, surrounding buildings & overall infrastructure
I believe that the Fallbrook Golf Course can once again be a thriving business in Gird Valley.
Friendly Staff – Always asking for feedback – “Tell us how it went?”
A joy to be there
I have experienced this at MANY local business like Joes Hardware, Scrappy’s Tires, European Auto, Grand Tradition.
The People of Fallbrook – they TRULY care about their neighbors and have a great love of community, and tradition
FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE
Their Current Advertisement:
“Since 1962, Fallbrook Golf Course has been a family-friendly green destination for North San Diego County golfers and beyond, with strategically placed native live oak, sycamore and eucalyptus trees providing arresting foliage, against a backdrop of lush rolling green on the regulation-length course. Pristinely manicured with sand and water features on many holes, it’s an impeccable place to spend an afternoon or early evening.”
The current owner, Jack Lamberson, is anxious to sell off the business as his recent letters to the neighborhood have clearly stated. Unfortunately, he first intends to divide the course in half. Selling the back 9 holes to a mitigation bank, which would make it impossible for the 18 hole Fallbrook Golf Course to ever regain its former glory.
I ask that the current designation of this property, allowing it to be operated as an 18 hole, regulation-length golf course, be kept firmly in place. This would require that the back half of the course, which is currently in the process of an attempted mitigation bank sale, be allowed to remain intact.
Bill Geffeney (3598 Oak Cliff Drive)
My name is Bill Geffeney. I live at 3598 Oak Cliff Drive. A new resident to Fallbrook, I bought my house in December of 2013. It is located on the remains of the sixth hole of the Fallbrook Golf Course. Professionally, I am an Enrolled Agent and a licensed real estate broker.
Personally, I cannot fault the owner for trying to maximize his investment in the golf course. He alleges that he has made a substantial investment in the property. Unfortunately, He just has not been very successful financially and he wants out. I do not blame him for that.
My beef is not with the seller. I heartily support property rights. I think we all do. We should not dictate what someone can or cannot do with their property. As long as their actions or lack thereof do not threaten the property rights or lives of others let them use the property as they choose as long as it conforms to accepted local land use regulations and zoning restrictions.
My beef is with a system of federal property incentives so perverse that an owner can run his property straight into the ground, through mismanagement, incompetence or indifference and can still look forward to being approached by a “mitigation land” broker offering him a financial incentive that exceeds the fair market value of the property per its highest and best use.
The reality of “mitigation” is that the federal government inspires with its lavish payments for mitigation credits a scheme that encourages owners of recreational land to abuse and degrade their properties by doing nothing to care for them and then when the time is right allows through mitigation a de facto conversion the property to another use.
In a sense this policy encourages the recipient not to compete in the marketplace. Quite the opposite, it encourages the landowner to “game” the system. Is this the intent of this unlegislated land use scheme? If so, isn’t it time that we demand changes in its administration from federal authorities? Likewise, local authorities must be aware of the potential abuses inherent in this system.
You, the Fallbrook Community Planning Group are elected to represent us in making decisions regarding the preservation and development of local lands. You are charged with coordinating with federal agencies, making sure that local land use plans are not ignored.
One of the obvious shortcomings of the “mitigation” process is that it does not discriminate between lands that are being utilized, (developed recreational land, for instance), and those that are not developed. Appropriate vacant lands could easily be substituted for land that has a current and accepted community use. In this case the Fallbrook Golf Course has long been zoned for recreational usage. It also extends an historical and emotional tie to the beautiful Gird Valley and its inhabitants.
Should a permit for a land use change on this property be brought before you, I urge you to preserve this treasured gem for all us.
Show up! Your presence registers your opposition to any land use
changes which negatively impact beautiful Gird Valley. It will only
take about half an hour of your time but it is a very important half hour so please be there!
If you’d like, you can speak out, share your thoughts! You’ll have 3 minutes to voice your opinion. Contact us and we’ll help you organize your comments!
[Teresa] Platt said the citizens group is planning to attend the Feb. 15 meeting of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group to let them know “we’re mobilized, we’re awake, and we’re worried.”
“New management for the golf course is absolutely welcome,” she said. “They’d see enormous support from us. But if they’re coming to get a land-use change and go through the permitting process, they’re going to get pushback.”
So have your say! Submit your comments online at the end of the articles in The Village News and at the end of this insightful DC commentary on the nonsensical federal policy pushing all this.
Share your thoughts on The San Diego Union Tribune article by Bob Pickard. Note that this article confirms that the neighbors’ suspicions were correct — that the owner has planned all along on selling all or part of the Fallbrook Golf Course to a mitigation land bank.
If you want to know what this process entails, just look south to Bonsall where thousands of angry and disgusted neighbors bear witness to the tragic demise of San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course, now the San Luis Rey Downs Weed Patch and Garbage Dump. There is no timeline for successful conversion to wetlands so this sorry state of affairs could continue for many, many years, even a decade or more.
Even worse, Fallbrook Golf Course’s current owner admitted to The San Diego Union Tribune that he has a birds eye view from his house over the San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course disaster but he planned to repeat it in Fallbrook anyway! Seriously, you need to comment!
In the deal on the table, Fallbrook Golf Course will go to seed and weeds, just like what is happening now at San Luis Rey Downs. Then “mitigation land credits” will be sold to Big Government agencies (YOUR tax dollars) and Big Developers to release them from culpability for damage to wetlands in North San Diego County.
Since most of these mitigation land credits are sold to Big Government agencies — which use your unlimited tax dollars to buy them — we now have a gold rush in San Diego County, with such land selling for an average of $380,000 per acre.
It is estimated that land that was once farmed for tomatoes in the San Luis Rey River Valley will yield as much as $500,000 an acre! With these sort of numbers being thrown about, one has to wonder if we’ll have any farms, vineyards, golf courses or nurseries left in San Diego in a few years!
If Fallbrook Golf Course follows the same fate as the San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course, Fallbrook residents will suffer negatively impacted views, decimated property values, a vastly diminished tax base and fewer recreational and job opportunities. Historic Gird Valley will host an eyesore along once-scenic Gird Road, a weedy fire hazard in the middle of residential development.
PLEASE! Submit your comments online at the end of the articles listed above TODAY!