At Sundays annual general meeting of the Shores Homeowners Association, it didnt take long for the elephant in the room to rear its head, especially since the room in question was in the clubhouse of the Shores Country Club. It seemed as if, for the nearly 100 residents of the Shores neighborhood in attendance, the business of electing new officers, approving the HOA budget, and reviewing reports of houses painted the wrong color or grass left unmowed for too long was just a warm-up for the main event – the question and answer session.
No sooner had HOA Secretary James Pulatie finished his report on HOA negotiations with club owner Jeff Silverstein of IRI Golf Group than the hands started to shoot up. The report detailed the agreement on placing funds from the homeowners club dues into an escrow account to be used for improvements to the tennis courts, swimming pool and clubhouse, rather than going directly to IRI. According to Pulatie, this was preferable to withholding funds altogether and risking a costly lawsuit resulting in the inevitable closing of the club altogether. Questions then came in at a brisk pace from the audience, primarily dealing with the disposition of the mandatory dues assessment levied against every household, and the question of what the agreement means for the golf course.
HOA President Barb Grega reminded the audience that the agreement between the Association and IRI concerns only the pool, tennis and clubhouse amenities. Golf fees and memberships are separate from the mandatory dues, and are not collected by the HOA. IRIs agreement on the course itself is with the City of Rockwall, which controls roughly 65 percent of the land the course occupies. The city, after years of dispute over the maintenance and operation of the course, now considers IRI to be in default of their agreement and has given notice that they intend to cancel it.
In an email sent to HOA members earlier this month, the board wrote that the city is trying to close the golf course and that IRI is asking for another 6 to 9 months to reorganize or sell the course. Three members of the city council in attendance: Mark Russo, Cliff Sevier and Glen Farris. When this matter came up, they were quick to respond. Councilman Russo said that the city had given Silverstein years to come into compliance with the agreement, and that more time would just result in more sidestepping and further deterioration of the course. It was now time to force the issue.
One member of the audience made mention of a rumor circulating that the city is trying to drive IRI out of the Shores so they can convert the golf course to a public park. The following audio clip is Councilman Farris response to this rumor (and the anonymous letter that appeared on the steps of Shores homeowners):
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When all was said and done, the board acknowledged they felt the rumor was just that, but hoped the council would not be too hasty in forcing a shutdown before a willing buyer can be found.
The story continues.