Here are the verbatim comments on the Masterplan sent by many UP residents and Club members to the Board. Questions sent to the Board are covered under Your Questions Answered.
July 1, 2022
After attending the latest RD meeting via Zoom I have a few comments.
- We definitely need a larger kitchen, repairs to the golf course irrigation, office and meeting space. These are needs, not wants.
- Is it necessary to move the pro shop to the Varsity? Truthfully, I think this is an un-needed expense. It is true that the Varsity is better located for the pro shop but for 30 years the current location has worked just fine. Yes, the move would create more space for the pro shop but in my estimation, the move is going to create so much added expense in re-purposing the current pro shop and the Varsity. In regards to making the pro shop into the Varsity, I don’t believe there is near enough space to create what the Varsity now offers. My opinion is to leave the pro shop as it is and upgrade the varsity with new furniture and leave that beautiful bar. No way would that fit in the pro shop. With expanded hours why can’t the Varsity be the place to go after golf? With new furniture, it could be made into a more clubby atmosphere.
- Why not propose a more modest new building for office and meeting space and leave the gym space where it is and add an additional larger room for classes. As I see it, more class rooms is going to mean more staff which, nowadays, is an added issue. If the Varsity remains as is, I don’t see an issue with tennis players going there after playing just as the golfers would. I don’t see the need for a separate lounge space for tennis players.
- I think this more modest proposal would be more acceptable to homeowners at this point in time. The prior proposal for a large building for offices and work out space is just not needed.
- In summation, I propose a smaller new building, built similar to the current architecture. Leave the current pro shop as is and update the Varsity. Add a classroom to the current gym if this is really needed as I’m sure it is.
I am not in favor of building on Parcel L but if there is no other place for it, a smaller building there might be more acceptable to homeowners.
New irrigation for the golf course is needed and should proceed as planned.
June 30, 2022
I completely support the new building and the various ways it can be used for the arts. Both my husband and I feel that it would enrich our community tremendously and have wonderful appeal to those looking for an upscale community in which to live.
June 30, 2022
As chairs of the Art Discovery SIG (Special Interest Group) at UP Women’s Cub, we hope that you’ll consider adding some space in what you build for the many talented artists living here at UPCC. We currently have 57 artists in our group and meet others every day who are looking to join us. Without any dedicated space available for SIG use, we have been using the facilities at the Club for Art in the Park and using our own garages for any demonstrations or classes. This is not convenient for Club staff nor our members huddled around garage spaces. Please consider the SIGS here at the Park. These components make up our life here and add so much to the pleasures abounding at UPCC.
June 30, 2022
I recently read an email proposing an elaborate project to accommodate arts and artists. I think this is a totally ridiculous idea, the vast majority of people would not support this and it’s Hard to understand how this RD project has gone off the rails with crazy ideas proposing a lot of investment that nobody wants to pay for. please do not support this idea.
June 29, 2022
Great idea to make space available for so many activities. As an artist, I know this would raise the level of the arts at University Park CC. I look forward to the creation of such a space and plan.
June 28, 2022
Would it be possible to add a sun screen above the pickleball courts or possibly a few of the tennis courts to allow some relief from the sun during very hot days? We have seen some newer facilities that have either tent type structures above the courts or even “wind sails” that can help provide screening of the sun on the courts This may help avoid adding additional courts if the time for play can be extended into the heat of the day
June 27, 2022
I’ve been asking every UP resident I run into how they are feeling about the bond. And, I’ve been shocked that with zero prompting from me, there is a strong consensus.
-Almost everyone is planning to vote “yes”
-Everyone agrees that there are “urgent” requirements for golf course irrigation and a new kitchen
-Beyond that, people don’t see the same level of need at all and want PRIORITIZATION of the less-urgent needs.
-And, no one (so far), trusts the Board to continue to involve the community as a whole in the detailed exploration of the alternatives for fitness/meeting/office/etc. I’m hearing frequently how important BROAD involvement is in working through the options and making the decisions.
We (RD, UPCAI, committees, PBM, etc) have failed badly, so far, in involving people from the beginning, resulting in strong, emotional pushback when a Board or Committee presents their recommendations. [This was true for Safety’s proposal to stripe the roads, Master Landscaping’s 1st presentation and RD’s initial proposal re Phase 2.]
Having said that, the RD Board as a whole has dramatically improved the level and quality of communications since the bad start, with some room for further improvement.
This is a clear message to the Board:
Be very clear about your commitment to involving everyone (as best you can) in the most expensive and less urgent aspects of Phase 2.
It is an unfortunate reality that many will not participate.
But for those who are engaging, they need some concrete evidence that they will be kept informed and given every opportunity to participate in the process – after the Bond is approved and until the contracts for work are signed.
June 27, 2022
I would very much like to see the expansion of dedicated spaces in UPCC for Art in the Park and other art activity, classes, and shows. This would be wonderful and we would no longer impose on the dining rooms and main facilities and spaces.
June 27, 2022
I have been a social member for years and then purchased two years ago. During that time I have noticed a worrisome move to provide for staff needs, as opposed to owner needs. At the same time, verbal pleasantries have possibly lessened.
I don’t feel special in the Grille anymore.
To the idea of art classroom/studio, I would add a kiln and pottery classes, immensely pleasant.
I see that empty former building as ideal to provide joyful ways for our community to express their creativity and to ‘feel a part of’ rather than ‘separate from’.
It’s simple, provide a first rate golf program, treat all members as special guests to be honored,
offer creative activities, Provide a green campus , carefully tended by interested and excellent landscape providers, and sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labors.
June 22, 2022
June 13, 2022
Re: Reserve Funding-to be shared with the elected leadership.
Within the documents we, the owners, have received is the disclosure of a 5% of the yearly budget for funding of the reserve. I question the use of a flat 5%.
Before retiring I owned a property management company in Fort Lee, NJ. We managed over 3 million square feet of residential property with our flagship building being 1 million square feet and the largest residential building in New Jersey. Funding reserve accounts in our contacted properties was done in the legally accepted manor and approved by our state mandated accountants for yearly audits.
The reserve accounts were established by an engineering company hired for their expertise in reserve studies. The professional reserve study established the baseline value and lifetime for each line item in the reserve budget
Taking a 5% blanket amount for the reserve funding is not only a “willy-nilly” approach to funding but is unscientific in its base accountability. Each item in the reserve account has a different lifetime and potentially differing increases due to the supply change, and inflation within that account. Costs of labor increases are not universal to each category nor is the percentage of each cost breakdown concerning labor vs materials. Other variables including engineering, permitting, and bidding costs are not on a equal across all reserve line items. Generally accepted practice is an updated reserve study every 3-5 years to assure staying in within potential cost & labor changes over time.
As you may be aware, newly passed Florida legislation mandates the use of professional engineering to determine the funding for reserve accounts in Condo and Co-op buildings. While this does not directly apply to our designation as a homeowner’s association, the basic process in dealing with reserve accounts does.
I would respectfully suggest that the proposed 5% allocation for reserves be deleted and the more accurate and accountable method noted above be applied instead.
Thank you for your attention to this request.
May 17, 2022
My primary input is the need to have an accurate Operating Statement for the club which reflects the impact each element of our vision would have on it. It’s generally accepted in business that “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”. In addition, we are fortunate to have a profitable golf operation which can help sustain other club activities however there’s a limit to how much? We cannot take away the dollars needed to maintain the premier operation and course conditions which clearly give us an edge today.
It is vital that our club move forward with improvements & updates to maintain the strong position we currently have in this very competitive market. I served on the Board of The Meadows C.C. when we first tested Sarasota for retirement and I can tell you catching up in this market is very painful, if even possible?
May 14, 2022
I live in Notting Hill on the cul de sac facing the pond adjacent to Honore. FPL has cleared all the trees and greenery that previously gave us privacy from Honore. They have erected monster poles which now are in our view along with a wide view of the many cars traveling on Honore.
I see my property value plummeting as a consequence of FPL’s current work to install these lighting poles.
I am asking UPCC to replenish the greenery when FPL finish their work. We need tall trees and bushes to soften the sound and view of the traveling cars on Honore and to create a better view from all the houses that are now seeing these monster poles.
Is there any intention for UPCC to address the need for new landscaping and plant the necessary greenery along that open and baron areas just south of our back gate?
May 14, 2022
Is it true you are planning moving the pro shop into the Varsity Club room? Did anyone ask the members what they thought of this idea.
May 13, 2022
If all of these additions get approved, have you given any thought to membership fees?
If we are paying for a new fitness center, I feel all residents should be entitled to use the facilities without paying a membership fee. I am tired of being a social member and not entitled to any other amenities. Not everyone in the park is a tennis or golf player. Other country clubs allow their residents the use of the fitness center and tennis and Pickleball courts. I understand that golf is definitely an additional membership fee. I am still upset about the Pickleball membership that is added to your social membership, but you can only play after 1:00. You are penalizing residents that are only social members.
May 12, 2022
Have you considered allowing residents to vote on the individual components of the plan? Will the vote for the bond be an all or nothing proposition? I agree with the need for the kitchen renovations, administration offices, parking lot renovations, golf course irrigation, but do not want to pay for a new fitness center at this time.
May 12, 2022
Thanks for all of the work that you have put in to investigate and communicate your plans for the future of the country club.
The approach that you have taken is terrific.
One thought is that from a resident’s perspective, it may help to have aloof the administrative offices provided by park management be located in one place, namely what is now called the community center, rather than having them spread out.
Of course, those staff that provide direct services to the members of the country club (like Ann) could remain in offices in the country club, but why not consider putting all of the other administrative staff together in one place sharing one receptionist, kitchen, bathrooms, conference rooms,copy equipment, computers, printers, zoom capabiliities, etc etc.
If we are going to spend money to expend the upstairs dungeon, the money may be better spent expanding a facility that has better parking, better windows, etc
I know that the so called community center is owned by UPCAI but park management serves both masters
May 11, 2022
The work that has gone into the plans for the Park is impressive -thanks to everyone involved. It occurs to me however, that we should get a reality check from our members before we go much further. We must get some understanding of the appetite and ability of our neighbors to take on more debt. We are golf members and all year residents so we have a real interest in the additional enhancements .But we have part time residents and residents who came to the Park as home owners solely with no interest in our sports. So let’s be open about the approximate cost of these Plans now . Let’s project what the household impact will be. There is no doubt that these additions will enhance the desirability and maybe value of our homes and this could help the case but in the interest of early disclosure I suggest we lay it out now.
May 11, 2022
Thank you so much for considering our prior correspondence outlining what we believed were University Park Country Club “needs” versus “wants.”
As you’re well aware, some of the consternation and confusion in the community involves the issue of paying for the proposed improvements, whatever the final total. Many of our residents have balked at the idea of additional assessments, with a subset of those remembering being told at the time of the takeover that no additional assessments would be forthcoming in the near term.
Most of us recognize that it is critical, at a minimum, to maintain and protect the investment we made three years ago when the RD was formed and the Club purchased. We do not want to live in a community where shopworn facilities drag down our real estate values.
Nonetheless, there is a vocal segment of our community who believe Club improvements and maintenance should be paid by user fees and not homeowner assessments. Some believe that our home values are no more impacted by Club conditions than those in surrounding communities because nonresidents can enjoy the benefits of UPCC as much as residents. In addition, there are those who question whether there are other sources of funding and, if not and bonding is ultimately determined to be the most fruitful route, whether the 50/50 split that was utilized in determining the original assessments is an equitable way to proceed now.
In order to address these three concerns:
- A perceived promise of no additional near term assessments
- Whether user fees are a more reasonable approach to paying for improvements, and
- Whether other funding is available and if not, whether a 50/50 split is equitable
we request a meeting with those who have a deep understanding of RD finances to address the following questions:
- Were representations made at the time of takeover that no additional assessments would be made in the near term?
- What were the projections and assumptions at the time of Takeover for both future improvements and building capital reserves?
What is the reconciliation between those projections and results to date?
- What were the projections and assumptions at the time of Takeover for both future improvements and building capital reserves?
- As to the issue of user fees as the appropriate means to fund improvements, we need to better understand Club finances and the extent to which current fees both for residents and nonresidents and how they relate to the cost of operations and how much elasticity there is in these fees.
How do our initiation fees compare to comparable clubs in the area?
How do our annual golf, tennis and social membership fees compare to comparable clubs in the area?
What is the relation of resident fees to nonresident fees?
How many nonresident members are currently enrolled?
Does the Club make or lose money on nonresident members?
Is there room in the marketplace to increase fees to resident or nonresident members to pay for the improvements and capital reserves thus lowering the need for additional assessments?
The same questions pertain to summer memberships.
Can you compare real estate taxes and CCD and similar charges for comparable properties to UPCC properties?
Can you compare all fees and taxes described above currently paid by UPCC homeowners and members to those of top tier clubs in the area?
- If fees are insufficient to fund much or all of the agreed upon improvements,
- Are other routes available to secure the required capital besides bonding?
If not, why is the 50/50 split used in the prior bond an equitable way to proceed?
We understand in the course of the meeting we request that tangential issues will surface that require further clarifications. Nevertheless, a working session like that we request should go a long way towards addressing critical funding questions.
In closing, we want to thank you again for your dedication and effort in working to maintain and improve our member experience. We continue to recognize that we have an aging club that must compete with new housing developments, and that our home values will be affected by whatever decision we make.
May 9, 2022
Folks, I’m sorry if I’m not using the correct email for a comment on Phase 2. Correct me if needed. I believe you are giving some thought to owners who are paying these bonds to get some sort of discount regarding the various memberships available at UPCC. Currently, I believe the general public pays the same amount for a membership, full or a different category at UPCC. Hopefully, you will take into consideration a different amount (higher) for non-owners at University Park.
May 9, 2022
Like the idea of repurposing the Varsity Club and
building a fitness center next to tennis court 11.
May 8, 2022
“Our Vision” is a slogan. In reality, there is “your vision” and “someone else’s vision”. One person’s wants is another person‘s needs. The real issue is whether you are a Board who will support imposing a second “lien”on everybody’s home within a three-year period to carry out your vision. If you don’t consider it the functional equivalent of a “lien”, try not paying it and you can say goodbye to your house. If I heard correctly, a board member stated that the homes in the neighboring University Place were less valuable than in University Park because of the Club. That seems obviously wrong for the simple fact that the residents in University Place, (as well as the residents of the mobile home park on Tuttle- the double- wides also presumably being less valuable) DO have a club- namely UPCC -that by joining each can enjoy the same privileges as the resident members of University Park. What those other homes don’t have are tens of thousands of dollars of liens, thousands of dollars of potential revenue stamps and the likelihood of constant and increasing assessments due to inadequate revenues.
Why won’t the Board and general manager focus on revenue, not assessments? User fees of each separate existing amenity should always, at a minimum, cover both operating costs and a reserve for future repairs and as to new amenities also the construction costs. How can you fail to achieve a revenue neutral food and beverage amenity when that operation has NO rent and NO expenses for furniture, fixtures, renovations and equipment ,most of which costs were in effect financed from the equity in homeowner houses. If you don’t change the operation to reduce costs, why don’t you raise menu prices to break even? By doing so, the users would be paying the ACTUAL cost of providing the service as opposed to it being subsidized by social and other members, some, I suspect, who would prefer not to be. The several hundred other restaurants within a short drive are able to make an after tax profit sufficient to support its Owner ( or provide a return to investors) and they all DO have rent, furniture, equipment etc costs. Instead, your vision proposes new amenities that will also require initial and ongoing subsidies from homeowners and members, initially by placing ANOTHER lien against the equity in homeowner houses and who knows what level of additional fees, revenue stamps, capital assessment surcharges or other forms of assessment, whatever labeled. Yes, Pro Formas are a good idea but we all know how government entities woefully underestimate actual initial and ongoing costs. The restaurant renovation is a good example, with more expense to come. I recall, but didn’t save, a letter from the Club sellers( Neal, etc) urging prompt closing of the club purchase because of the threat of increasing interest rates. The lawsuit and maybe other factors delayed the closing and my recollection is interest rates actually went down not up. In a 30 year bond (presumably no call feature), what’s relevant is the interest rate over a long period of time. I’m not sure if anybody in the world has a crystal ball on long-term interest rates but I’m absolutely sure if there is such a person, they don’t live in University Park. Opinion may differ as to the negotiation and terms of the club purchase and as is now apparent, due diligence was deficient. However the purchase did preserve the status quo of the development. Your vision proposes enhancements but WITHOUT sufficient user revenue to fund both the initial cost and ongoing operating expense. I doubt many homeowners envisioned that buying a home in UP would subject them to a hamster wheel of ongoing and frequent special assessments (whatever they might be called), a risk one accepts when one CHOOSES to join an equity private country club. When the real estate market normalizes and it always does, the multiple liens on homes and the risk of further assessments will reduce the number of interested buyers and valuations. If all amenities were at least revenue neutral, the current level of member fees and excess revenue from the golf course might, over time, fund the bulk of the current repairs. As I recall, the parking lot resurface money was included in the prior bond proceeds for the Club purchase. Where did that money go? The golf course irrigation improvement may well be needed to preserve the revenue from the golf course but isn’t it a multi year project for which other funding sources may be available. However first and foremost, you need to stop the bleeding from amenities that are not revenue neutral and certainly not add additional amenities for which voluntary users are unwilling to pay both the initial and ongoing costs, resulting in those costs being shifted to be subsidized by others.
For transparency, written comments to the board like this one should be included on the UPCC webpage for all residents to access.
April 29, 2022
I attended your scheduled town meeting to present the Master Plan and funds needed to accomplish what’s being proposed. I greatly appreciated having the opportunity to learn what is being proposed and have the opportunity to provide input. Thank you.
It was evident that there is overwhelming support for the higher bond amount for thirty years (some expressing wanting to borrow even more).
My concern is your proposal to assess every homeowner a flat rate of approximately $870. per year for the next 30 years.
I live in Whitebridge for a reason, it is what I can afford in University Park. I consider myself to be very fortunate to live here and contribute my fair share.
We are the lowest valued real estate in the park. It does not seem fair to expect homeowners of shared villas that have an average valuation of $400,000. each, to be assessed the same amount as $4 and $5,000,000. single resident properties in the Park.
There are numerous homeowners who are not only on a fixed income, but are single and don’t have the benefit of being a couple with two incomes. Prices are going up across the board; taxes, neighborhood hoa fees, membership fees, etc. I hope you’ll reconsider assessing a flat rate across the board.
May 7, 2022
Acoustics – The acoustics for RD zoom meetings are terrible. It is very difficult to hear and understand what board members and the public are saying. Could all speakers please speak directly into the microphone (I realize the microphone will have to be passed around but that is a small price to pay to make the meeting intelligible to the zoom listeners).
April 26, 2022
You have asked residents to provide feedback on the Master Plan.
I know that the UPCC residents have elected a Board to come up with fresh ideas to drive UPCC forward and remain the pre-eminent location within our area. I am horrified however that without taking feedback from the residents on the Master Plan, we seem to already be on a trajectory to begin this work in the short term. Surely such a major set of projects and major expenditure should require a survey of residents especially since at this time of the year a great many of our home owners have begun their travels and are not available to give their feedback locally at Townhall meetings. It is so easy to receive feedback from all residents, irrespective of their location by using tools such as SurveyMonkey or SoGoSurvey.
KITCHEN EXPANSION & UPGRADE
The dining and kitchen facilities are a major loss-making area and yet we are pumping $2M into it with no expectation or desire for it to even break-even. This does not make commercial sense. If people want to have a 3 or 4 hour dinner then they need to be prepared to pay extra for that and cannot expect to receive it at “modest prices”. Of course there is a huge demand for dining at UPCC if we are providing meals at less than cost price. UPCC is not a charity, we should not be subsidising the true cost of meals. The Townhall summary sheet said that subsidizing the dining experience is “industry standard” but from my 40+ years of experience working for some of America’s largest corporations, I can assure you that it is industry standard to either fix any loss making parts of a business or jettison them. Which of these options is the board going to do?
GOLF COURSE IRRIGATION
When we were in the process of purchasing UPCC from John Neal, we were assured that he was going to put right anything that needed repair. I’m amazed that we have only now discovered that the golf course irrigation system is in urgent need of repair. Why was this not highlighted when we carried out our due diligence prior to purchase?
Could we not carry out repairs to one 9-hole section for a few months during 2024 and thereby leave 18 holes fully operational? We could then carry out repairs to another 9-hole section in 2025 or 2026 and the final 9-hole section for a few months during 2027. This would allow the course to remain operational at all times and to generate profits to help towards the cost. Upgrading the irrigation in stages would also allow us to spread our payments over a 5 year period rather than one very large hit.
FITNESS/ WELLNESS RACQUETS
What is the usage data for the current facilities? How do these figures compare with commercial fitness centres? How do you know that “More people would use the Fitness Centre if we had more space”? Has a survey of all UPCC residents been carried out or is this just random feedback and speculation?
MEETING SPACE MEMBERS AND STAFF
“The board will continue to solicit input as we move forward” – The board should not move forward with the provision of meeting space until it has surveyed all residents. Individual residents who are more local or “have the ear” of committee members should not take priority over the opinion of the entire community. This applies not just to the meeting room space but for all of the above-mentioned work. The board should not be spending our money on plans that the residents do not agree with. For example, how much of our money was wasted on consultants to come up with the ridiculous plans for the new planting scheme? We do not want a repeat of that wastage.
April 26, 2022
I finally tripped across an email for feedback on the master plan, so I’m sending a few comments.
Communication: Include this email address for feedback in every communication!
Kitchen and restaurant: My husband and I use the restaurant 2-3 times a week for lunch and occasionally at other times. It’s a major asset of living in UP. Lunch is terrific, but we think the quality of the food at dinner is much lower. I think it would be perfectly reasonable for there to be 2 table turns each night — if the restaurant were open for typical dining hours, instead of closing so very early. The evening hours are more consistent with an assisted living facility than a normal restaurant!
Golf course: From what you’ve said this is a profit center. So although I don’t play golf, I thoroughly support keeping this in good shape and maintaining it well.
Admin offices: I suspect more people might be able to work remotely than you think, using videoconferencing and email. Fully on-site work is increasingly rare, unhealthy, and unnecessary. But certainly some on-site staff is needed and space is needed for them.
Parking lot: Agreed, this is way overdue for resurfacing.
Fitness/wellness and racquets: Your communications on this are unclear. You say this is a big draw but at the same time say few people use it. The existing fitness center and tennis courts are hardly used, so more clarity is needed on why expansion is warranted. For the fitness center, is your proposal driven by a clear demand for fitness classes? And for racquets, an outdoor refreshment area would be great — but for heaven’s sake not (just) a juice bar, but a real bar! Especially if you want to attract some people who are younger.
Meeting space: I agree spaces are needed for special interest groups and some meetings. But I urge you to use videoconferencing more for committee meetings. Your proposal doesn’t mention upgraded video capacity, which is sorely needed. I tried to watch the video of your first Town Hall meeting and it’s almost unwatchable. Audio is poor quality, video is too dark to see anyone, and during presentations the first slide of a given set stays on throughout the entire talk. There are existing, off-the-shelf video systems (e.g., Google Meet) which support screen sharing of presentations and recording. This is a better idea for a large community.
Anything you can do to appeal to younger members would increase the value of the club. The club membership (and home owners) are skewed very old. Ditto for the hours that the restaurant keeps (and “Park Bites” — no food after 6PM and no drinks after 8PM?)
No mention is made of Covid considerations, like prioritizing outdoor space, Hepa filters, UVC lighting, and superior ventilation. These are critical to us.
Design considerations: Just about everyone I’ve spoken to is unhappy with the indoor restaurant renovations. The space went from being dated to being cheap: everything that was done reeks of plastic and cheapness. Some have compared it to a school cafeteria. Of course taste is an individual thing, but there’s no question that the materials chosen are very visibly inexpensive. Since I feel that this project was a bust, I worry about the plan for the outdoor work, presumably planned by the same people. Did you gather feedback (I’m unaware of any way to provide it and haven’t seen any solicitations), to ensure that the majority of the community is happy with the results — before you proceed with the outdoor part of the project
April 19, 2022
Below are our comments after attending the 4/19 meeting and reading the recap. There are a few items that do not match up with the discussion we heard in the room. Perhaps some amending of the recap can be done for the 4-27 Town Hall.
- Since there are 10 people in the Admin Offices it was suggested that possibly 3 or 4 could work from home which would provide 30% more available space. For those remaining, perhaps a rotation a few days a week would free up enough space to comfortably use the existing office with renovation to include addition of an elevator and windows. This would still be less costly than new construction. Creativity may yield other possibilities for a comfortable work environment.
- Community Center utilization- Since offices and conference rooms are used to capacity, is it possible to expand the current building for additional space or reduce the size of the gallery to offer more office space?
- Often in a business setting, two professionals share an office. Is this already happening at the community center? Is it possible?
PARKING LOT EXPANSION
- Since an additional parking lot was not originally included in the cost of building a new Fitness, Wellness, Social building the cost of a new parking lot and necessary lighting must be included and communicated to the residents as part of the total cost estimate. If $750K is estimated to expand and resurface the existing lot, it is reasonable to estimate a net new lot construction to cost $1.5 to $2M. In addition, maintenance (trip risks, resurface) and insurance must also be included in the budget.
- Partitioning walls are offered as a solution to provide more meeting space in a new building. Sound between such “air walls”, as they are typically called, carries between divided spaces and is very annoying. (I’ve experienced using such space for classes and meetings in another life. They cause significant distractions. A fitness class has talking, coaching, and playing music. This would not be welcomed by a meeting or card game in the adjacent space.
- What about the suggestion made on 4/19 to rent space for large meetings? There are better equipped venues (with A/V that works well) for less money a few times a year than the cost of constructing and maintaining a building (utilities, cleaning services, insurances, etc.)
- A large new space it not the best approach since every activity is not a top priority. Rank the top priorities by need. Study the real and actual usage needs by the various groups in your assumptions, investigate implementation options and associated costs before jumping to a new building recommendation. For example, analyze the cost value per person of the total group size and determine how much is being spent per person for new and existing users for the additional cost. We were against a new building but yet it’s here in the Recap as the solution.
FITNESS/WELLNESS and RACQUETS
- One individual stood up on 4/19 and requested a Racquet Club lounge, bar, food service. If we did not have a café to be renovated with a bar, lounge, with food service, this may be a real need. Why is this not tabled along with the Varsity Club renovation for 6 months to see if there is a real need and not just a nice to have? As a tennis player I and my fellow players have for years, walked over to the café for an after-game refreshment and social gathering. This is typically for afternoon play. After morning games, people either head home to change or go directly to the café for group lunches. Why another redundant service?
- Fitness/Wellness Building – The attendees of 4/19 almost overwhelmingly agreed there needs to be expansion of Fitness, but, they did not favor a new building until all options of expanding the existing space are investigated. This ties to the various additional costing levels to be understood before we undertake a new bond. Why would we jump to the conclusion that a new building is needed when no work has been done to investigate expansion of current space? Approximately 9% of the total residents utilize the current fitness facility and not concurrently. How many people typically use the equipment each hour between 8:30 am until noon? We do not need to build a new facility when the current asset is underutilized. If this attraction grows with more space, it will still most likely still not exceed 12% of the total community as users. Yes, a small percentage of our residents play golf but play is open to the public and it is fully utilized and represents the only profit center in UPCC. Tennis is also a small percentage but as dues continue to increase, more players are driven to other alternatives such as Longwood Run for a better cost value relationship. There are many competitive price offerings for tennis and fitness centers in our area.
- As stated at the Town Hall, at this time, please focus on our objective of identifying needs and not how they are to be fulfilled. (“must haves”, as opposed to “nice to haves”) There may be executional alternatives not yet considered that would satisfy priority needs.
April 26, 2022
Thank you so much for your dedication and effort in identifying ways to improve our member experience. Volunteer work, while rewarding, can be extremely taxing, and the sheer number of hours you devote to the Club and its betterment deserves our respect.
We believe we speak for the majority of club members when we say we agree with your assessment that the Club needs capital improvements. However, we also believe that the scope of the proposals identified as Phase 2 “needs” is too broad and amorphous – and too early following the somewhat disappointing rollout of Phase 1 – to gain the majority support needed for the proposed bond issuance. In fact, we believe a majority of residents would, as we do here, divide the Phase 2 proposals between “needs” and “wants.”
Based on the information we have, we can agree that the following proposals are needs:
- Kitchen renovation
- Golf course Irrigation
- Parking lot renovation
We believe that most would be in favor of these items, which represent deferred maintenance and, in dollar terms, approximately half the total we’re discussing.
That would leave the following items as “wants”, the items likely to cause the most disagreement and thus delay:
- Offices & Meeting Space
- Fitness Center/Racquets
- Swap of Varsity Club and Pro Shop
These three items are those most in need of further reflection and refinement. We understand that these items have been proposed as ways to enhance the member experience, but we believe the need for these improvements is not as apparent to our members as the first three items.
We’re not suggesting that our members cannot be convinced that your vision for Phase 2 is appropriate, only that the arguments in favor of the last three have not been convincing. Given that homes in the Park are selling rapidly at prices that are historically high, we need to be shown that the cost of the latter three improvements is worthwhile given all other factors. Because we are at this time unconvinced, we are unlikely to provide authority to issue bonds covering these items.
Several meetings ago the Board presented slides, developed by country club consultants, that showed three levels of country clubs: top tier clubs that are healthy and vibrant; middle tier clubs that manage to maintain the status quo; and bottom tier clubs that are sinking. The consultants put UPCC in the middle tier.
By only addressing issues such as the kitchen, golf course irrigation and parking lot we understand we’re not breaking out of the middle tier. Those projects don’t do anything to enhance the “member experience” and move us to the top tier, but they do help us avoid the bottom tier, for now. We know that you believe the entire package of Phase 2 would help elevate us into the top tier, but the analysis to date and the arguments in favor of the entire package have not been persuasive.
We recognize that we have an aging infrastructure with an outdated club and amenities. As we compete with new housing developments, we need to ensure that buying and living in University Park provides significant advantages. The country club should be a major draw in attracting new residents. We also understand that one could make a correlation between home values and the country club levels, with the greatest appreciation occurring in communities with top tier country clubs.
In an era of rising interest rates, it would be a shame to forego the opportunity to fund our necessities – kitchen, golf course and parking lot – while sorting out the more controversial elements – the fitness center, the offices and meeting rooms, the varsity club/pro shop swap. Successful completion of the necessities would build community confidence and provide a springboard for future improvements. (We understand that our proposal would create the necessity for an additional bond issue at the time of such future improvements, which would need to be explained up front).
In summary, we’re suggesting splitting the Phase 2 into two projects, getting a reasonably quick vote on the kitchen, irrigation and parking lot and deferring to 2023 decisions on the Varsity Club /Pro Shop, fitness center, offices and meeting space. This would allow the must-have projects to move forward while creating time to formulate a complete plan for the “wants” in project 2. It also creates two more manageable projects and increases the probability of success.
We know that the assessments with respect to building reserves are on the table as well, but wanted to address the improvements separately.
April 24, 2022
I attended the first workshop on March 29th where the Board was seeking comments and suggestions on the direction of Phase 2 concepts. Steve Ludmeyer did present a multi-bulleted list of potential options to fund the next phase (“Options to Achieve Our Long-Term Capital Requirements”, multiple page talking points). Since the first meeting, it appears that discussions for Phase 2 have changed in that the Board is driving feedback from residents on a ‘needs’ driven approach. Once confirmed, then funding estimates will determine the bottom line estimated cost to fund this effort, and in turn hopefully build to a recommendation on a funding source.
Question: At this point in time, what is the approach for funding Phase 2?
Question: Is Steve Ludmeyer’s financial funding options still relevant to share with neighbors?
Bottom Line: Owners want to know how they will be impacted financially.
I have had inquiries on whether there is money in the RD reserves to fund this. My understanding is there are NO reserves for RD Master Planning, but we need to build a Capital fund which will be useful in out years, but not for Phase 2. Any documents that can explain this easily would be much appreciated.
April 23, 2022
Thank you all for the clear & concise report on our last Town Hall.
April 12, 2022
I attended one of the recent workshops to share updates on Phase 1 and proposals for Phase Two.
I don’t personally object to spending more money in proposed bond/taxes to enhance our club, although I may have different opinions on what are priorities and suitable enhancements. I was actively involved in helping neighbors and friends here understand the options and why the RD was the best option, as well as encouraging them to vote for it when we formed the RD and raised the bond.
However, I have to doubt that the majority of home owners in UPCC will step up to another bond of this scale. As you know, a significant number of home owners are grandfathered as non (social) members and I believe a large number of social members (more recent home buyers) are not that committed to the bigger picture for the Club.
My question is whether raising another bond ($15 million or so) requires a majority home owner vote, or whether the RD Board has the authority to approve it without that homeowner majority vote?.. Either way, I think it could be problematic.
I am a full member and have been since 2014. Appreciate a response on the process for approval of a bond.
April 10, 2022
I am extremely appreciative of the effort the Board has made both during the RD conversion and in Friday’s PowerPoint presentation as well..
Having said that,
when we bought here in the Park 22 years ago we were pleased that we could buy here without “joining a “golf club”. We DID play tennis for many years though and enjoyed the activity and many friends we made there. We’re sad that as we have aged, that is no longepossible.
And though UP was ( and still is ) referred to euphemistically as a “golf club”, it is not nor has it ever been one. I grew up in an actual “golf club” as my grandfather was a founding member of one in Westchester,, NY over 90 years ago.
UP is a gated community which happens to include two golf courses!
Country clubs contain a “club house” which itself usually includes men’s and ladies’ locker rooms and card rooms. UP has neither.
This unusual occurrence is due to the fact that the original developers ( Neal and Passover) felt that they’d be unable to successfully sell out the plots at this far out-of-town ( at that time ) location if they insisted that all home owners be members and pay the usual initiation fees that attend most golf club memberships.
That decision eventually, over time, came back to bite Neal in the tail, and as we all know, after many threats to build “as of right” structures on “his” property finally resulted in our collective decision to own the property ourselves through the RD route.
Now, 3 years later, after that RD purchase, it appears that many home owners, the majority of whom are either golfers or other sports players, would like to remedy Neal/Passold’s blunder and create an actual “golf cub” at OUR expense.
We and many others who bought simply for the ambiance of a gated community would be happy to ( and have already in the past ) endured assessments for the purpose of maintaining EXISTING facilities that obviously require it.
But the idea that we need to “compete” with other actual golf courses to meet an arbitrary standard and to undertake many millions of dollars in liabilities to build brand new facilities that never existed is anathema to us and I’m quite sure to many others like ourselves.
We are totally put off by possible future assessments that may run into the many millions for the construction of elaborate new projects that do not seem to be necessary to the continued successful existence of the Park.