After a year of mostly mutual wrangling on paper, the homeowners’ group may soon have a decision on whether it can push for a permanent housing ban on the Club West golf course.
Judge Timothy Thompson set December 2 for a 30-minute debate on course owner The Edge’s motion to deny the Club West Conservancy’s ban request nearly a year ago.
If Thompson grants The Edge’s request, The Conservancy and attorney Francis Slavin will have to decide whether to appeal the decision.
If he denies it, either Thompson or another Maricopa County Superior Court judge will hear evidence related to the Conservancy’s assertions that many people bought homes in Club West because Shea Homes and the build that preceded it promised a championship golf course would be part of the community.
Although Shea Homes is part of the Conservancy’s legal action, the homebuilder has tried to get out of the case, saying it has no agreement with The Edge and no interest in the golf course because it has already given the owners the rights to advertise it.
The Conservancy also confirms that the sales agreements both Shea and UDC Homes guarantee that the site will be preserved as a golf course.
The Edge — which includes four men who bought the course from Wilson Gee for $750,000 in 2019 — attacked the Conservancy’s legality until they sued it.
Earlier this year, Thompson agreed with his argument that the Conservancy had failed to show its standing because it did not name any homeowners who would be harmed by home construction in any part of the 165-acre course.
But he also refused to dismiss the case, stating that the Conservancy should amend its complaint to address The Edge’s assertions and that he was unconvinced by the owner’s argument that the Conservancy had no standing to sue in the first place.
The Conservancy is back with an amended complaint involving 50 homeowners.
Earlier this month, Slavin renewed his request that Thompson reject Edge’s repeated attempt to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint on firm grounds because the Club West Conservancy had more than met its burden at the pleading stage.
He reiterated the Conservancy’s argument that the “Golf Course Proclamation Imposing Restrictions on Use states that the property “shall be used exclusively as a golf course” and that it “explicitly states that its covenants and restrictions are in place for the purposes of “promoting and protecting the value of” the adjacent Foothills Club West subdivision.
He also wrote: “Club West members are entitled to impose use restrictions on the golf course as tacit beneficiaries pursuant to the golf course declaration, master development plan and/or supplement to the UDC Purchase Contracts.”
Slavin also said that many of the arguments raised by The Edge were “premature” and that the Conservancy deserved to be heard about its allegations.
He also said that the Conservancy represents the homeowners – who are challenging The Edge – and that it is “more efficient” for the court to consider its case rather than the myriad actions of individual homeowners who feel they will be harmed by the construction of the homes.
The Edge initially had an agreement to sell three parcels totaling approximately 52 acres to homebuilder Taylor Morrison in early 2020 to build approximately 162 one- and two-story homes.
The builder pulled out of the deal when some of the 2,700 homeowners rejected the plan.
Since then, The Edge has not fully revealed its plans for the wasteland.
She invited homeowners to submit suggestions for what they would like
The site has been converted to and at one point indicated a park with a number of amenities was an option.
But The Edge has not publicly discussed how to fund this plan or how to solve the problem of irrigating the site.
Gee closed Dora in 2016, saying he could no longer afford the city’s drinking water—the only obvious source of irrigation.
While The Edge has argued that the Conservancy must show how each homeowner is adversely affected by any use of the site other than golf, Slavin says Arizona law only requires that the Conservancy demonstrate impact on only one homeowner.
“The cases cited by The Edge show that an organization fails in the first tier of union standing only if Club West cannot show which member has an interest,” he wrote.
He said his client “is not seeking a statement that it has any legal title or title in Edge’s property. Instead, it is seeking a statement that the restriction of use registered against Edge’s property, which directly affects the use and enjoyment of adjacent property by Club West members, is valid.” and enforceable.”
Slavin also argues that the Conservancy’s legal action represents all homeowners, not just the roughly 370 with premium lot prices for owning lots near the course.
He said the Conservancy “claims that the planned community nature of the Foothills Club West development, including its design and marketing as a golf course community, gives all owners in the subdivision the right to impose use restrictions on the golf course. This is a group claim, not an individual one.”