Letter to the Observer: ‘Golf option’ has been disregarded


At the April 18, 2018, Rio Rancho Governing Body hearing on Land Development 2’s (LD2) rezoning application for the Club Rio Rancho golf course, Joshua Skarsgard, LD2’s manager, promised council members that if they passed the proposed ordinance approving the rezoning, LD2 would make every effort to realize the “golf option” for 200 of the 270 acres of the former golf course.

The “golf option” included LD2’s deeding 200 acres to Bellows Golf Management for $0 and a favorable water rate.

The governing body approved the ordinance. What actually happened was a “bait and switch.” LD2 unilaterally terminated its letter of intent with Bellows Golf Management, instructing Jim Bellows not to take any further action pursuing its golf course development plan.

LD2 never tendered the promised deed of 200 acres to Bellows Golf Management. Furthermore, LD2 allowed the property and clubhouse to deteriorate and be vandalized.

Protection of the clubhouse is essential and a major factor in stabilizing the already estimated $10 million investment necessary to achieve a premium golf course development, as intended by Bellows Golf Management.

The West Nine Neighborhood Association (WNNA) filed an appeal to the Sandoval County District Court, challenging the governing body’s decision to adopt the ordinance. The public record now reflects that LD2 and the WNNA entered into an agreement dated Jan. 21, 2019, and the WNNA dismissed its appeal.

The City of Rio Rancho is not a party to this agreement.

The agreement reveals that Joshua Skarsgard is not honoring his promises concerning the “golf option.” Paragraph VII of the agreement reveals that LD2 intends to apply for rezoning of six acres that were holes one and nine of the West Nine course, now to be part of the contemplated and illustrated Bellow’s Golf Management championship golf course.

The agreement expressly states that the rezoning application is “to be requested” for “permissive uses that include the possibility of a hotel, senior housing complex, commercial building or apartment complex.” Rezoning the six acres must be approved by the City of Rio Rancho Planning and Zoning Board and governing body, and will be strongly opposed by the undersigned organizations and others.

The inescapable conclusion is that Joshua Skarsgard does not intend to fulfill his promises made to the governing body and citizens of Rio Rancho. Mr. Skarsgard’s promise that he would pursue the “golf option” induced the governing body to approve the ordinance.

Approval and support for the ordinance was primarily based on the consensus that it was materially in the public interest to have an 18-hole golf course restored on the former Club Rio Rancho property.

Now is the time for the Rio Rancho administration, staff and governing body to take action by holding Joshua Skarsgard and LD2 to its promises, and compelling LD2 to comply with the ordinance, thereby preventing LD2 from completing a classic “bait and switch.”

Bob Walton, North Nine Neighborhood Association, Rio Rancho

Mike Vidal, The 18, Rio Rancho

Kathy Colley, The Islands at Rio Rancho