Residents around the former Deer Track South Course say they have made a couple lowball offers of approximately $1 million and $1.8 million for the property in the past couple years, but that neither received much consideration from owner Schaad Companies of Tennessee.
Frank Yelinko, who has spearheaded three ongoing lawsuits attempting to prohibit redevelopment of the property based on environmental issues, said he offered $1.8 million about 18 months ago.
Mike Couture, the owner of Myrtle Beach Realty and the property manager for some property owner associations around the South Course, said his more recent offer of about $1 million “never got past phase 1 of the [buying process].”
Couture said he represents about 12 of approximately 20 property owner associations around the South Course, and those 12 would have taken an offer to the other associations had they negotiated a letter of intent and practical figure.
“They are looking for at least $4 million,” Couture said. “That’s not feasible to do in this market for a golf course with all the work that would need to be done.”
“… The intention would be to reopen as some form of golf course – an executive course, etc. – utilizing the existing property.”
The property is without a clubhouse because the former two-course Deer Track Golf Resort’s rundown clubhouse belongs to the owners of the adjacent and also closed North Course, and the course would certainly need irrigation and drainage work before reopening for play.
Some homeowners around the South Course are trying to ensure housing will not be built on what used to be fairways.
The three lawsuits were filed after both the Deer Track North and South courses closed for planned redevelopment under separate owners in 2006.
The lawsuits are in county circuit court and both state and federal appellate courts, and combined they question county ordinances, and judgments of the Army Corps of Engineers and state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
“We have three lawsuits that have to do with environmental protection because it’s an environmentally sensitive area,” Yelinko said.
Yelinko argues the South Course and homes around were built in a flood zone, and he has involved an environmental scientist from Charleston to back his claim.
Yelinko contests that not only does stormwater coming off the course go through the South Course’s Phase II B property, but stormwater coming from areas south including Tupelo Bay golf facility, Glens Bay Road and areas of U.S. 17 bypass all go through Phase II B, then Surfside Beach to the Atlantic Ocean.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that these ordinances in our county are not there for the protection of the people, they’re there for the protection of the developers from the people,” Yelinko said. “It’s all about the almighty dollar. … They could care less if you’re in a flood zone.”
“… The whole thing is knowing what your rights are. My concern is for the homeowners here.”
Yelinko is a retired engineer and construction manager for Kushner Companies, a large investment holding company that purchased and developed properties. He worked with environmental scientists when the company had environmentally sensitive properties.
The South Course homeowners are represented by Amy Armstrong, the lead attorney for the S.C. Environmental Law Project. Yelinko said Phase II B accounts for about 120 of the 2,100 houses and condos around the South Course.
“They are not going to develop anything here without these people’s approval, and I don’t know if they’re going to approve anything,” Yelinko said. “We have a right to fight to protect our property and our lives.”
Bill Clark Homes had been contracted to purchase the South Course land for a few years pending the outcome of the lawsuits, but Bill Clark Myrtle Beach Division president Jeff Farrell said his company allowed the contract to expire.
“I’m still interested in it, but not until all the litigation gets over with,” Farrell said. “God knows what’s going to happen.”
Farrell said his company has spent $300,000 in engineering to ready the property for redevelopment and show the project wouldn’t cause flooding, and another $50,000 in legal fees. He also said permits necessary for development have been attained. “I feel badly for the Schaad company and badly for Bill Clark for putting all this money into it,” Farrell said.
“Clearly the homeowners around the South Course don’t want any construction going on. They want it to return to a golf course. I want to move my house to Hawaii, but I don’t think either of those things are going to happen.”
The former North Course also continues to be embroiled in litigation.
Homeowners attempting to prohibit redevelopment there through a class-action lawsuit have asked the state Supreme Court to hear the case.
Bellamy Law firm attorney David Miller, who represents the homeowners, said Monday he has yet to receive a decision from the court. The homeowners have received three unfavorable court rulings, most recently from the S.C. Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court can accept the case or decline, leaving the S.C. Court of Appeals’ decision to stand, which opens the door for the property’s redevelopment.
First Trident Financial LLC, the North Course’s lien holder, took over ownership of the 190-acre tract on June 4 with a bid of $2.6 million at a foreclosure auction – the equivalent of the amount remaining on the loan.
Sand save for Johnson
Two-stroke penalties for grounding a club in a sand bunker won’t impact this week’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.
The PGA of America has decided that none of the sand on the course will be played as a true hazard, meaning players will be allowed to ground their clubs.
Coastal Carolina alumnus and former Myrtle Beach resident Dustin Johnson missed out on a playoff in the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits when he took a two-stroke penalty on the 72nd hole for grounding his club in a sandy area he didn’t recognize as a bunker.
It was in an area spectators had trampled, and there were even spectators within what would be considered the bounds of the bunker when he hit the shot.
Whistling Straits has similar terrain to the Ocean Course, which is surrounded by and incorporates sand dunes where there will be spectators. There are more defined traditional sand traps near greens, but the PGA has wisely opted to play all sand the same, as non-hazards.
“I had hoped for that and anticipated that, so there’s no real surprise there,” said Brett Sterba, Championship Director for the PGA of America. “The PGA of America looked at a couple different options, but that’s how the course was designed, how it played in the past and how it will play for the PGA Championship.”
The Ocean Course’s bunkers played as non-hazards in the past decade when it hosted the Senior PGA Championship and PGA national club championship.
Maginnes in area
Former PGA Tour member and current satellite radio golf show host John Maginnes broadcast his show “Maginnes On Tap” from Pawleys Island from 5-7 p.m. Monday and will do so again from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday.
On Monday, Maginnes hosted the show from the porch overlooking the 18th hole at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club. Tuesday evening he will broadcast from the Oak Grille at Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club.
Registration is also open at www.MyrtleBeachOnTap.com for a random drawing for a Myrtle Beach golf getaway for four: two nights at Litchfield Golf and Beach Resort and three rounds of golf at National Golf Management courses Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club, Willbrook Plantation and River Club. A winner will be announced during Tuesday’s show.
“Maginnes On Tap” airs on XM station 93 and SIRIUS station 208 weekday evenings. For more information, visit www.MyrtleBeachOnTap.com.
Superstore expands again
PGA Tour Superstore announced plans to open its 15th retail superstore in Paramus, N.J. Scheduled to open later this year, the store will be located in the northwest quadrant of Route 17 and the Garden State Parkway at Exit 163.
The chain began with two locations on the Grand Strand that were formerly Martin’s Golf and Tennis stores.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284. To view Blondin’s blog, Green Reading, go to TheSunNews.com.