Save Plantation Website Publishes FAQ’s on what the
possibilities are for the future of the River Club
Mark: So, let’s start here. There is the application for rezoning the 22 acres adjacent to State St and extending to the golf course property line behind the current #11 green.
The website FAQ (Saveplantation.com) says if that is not approved it’s very possible the entire golf course would be developed at a rate of 6 homes per acre. Is that true?
Will: Yes, that is absolutely true. There’s no question. The entire property is zoned Residential R-2. Unfortunately, without this development it can’t remain a stand-alone
golf course. The land is simply too valuable. No one is going to pay this much to own and run just a golf course. This was from day one the plan and I’ve been completely transparent. Has it changed? Yes. Has it evolved? Yes. Has the golf routing changed? Yes, it has changed, and it has changed several times prior to me purchasing it. From day one, we have always been transparent that we were going to develop on State Street, and for anybody to be shocked now that this is happening it is preposterous. This will be a world-class development. Lincoln Property Company, or LPC, are world-class developers. I chose them because of that. This isn’t run of the mill stuff. LPC is paying a lot of money for that parcel, so this is going to be very high-end development. This will be as high-end as Ada County has ever seen. These are for professionals and empty nesters. A big portion of the project is high-end 55 and older age restricted project. I believe a lot of our members will be very interested in this product type, along with the townhouses that are also planned.
Mark: Is this true: If this development isn’t approved, you’re going to sell?
Will: 100%. I would have no choice. We’re scheduled to spend $3,000,000 this year on new capital improvements; a simulator building, warmup facility, adult pool, new
pickleball courts, new patio area. None of that will happen if we run up against opposition, not constructive and collaborative discussion which everyone has right to,
but legal opposition. To that point, I don’t really believe people actually think that the golf course is going to go away once the development is approved. It’s unimaginable to me that people really believe that. Many of the members have spent some personal time with me, and when they realize how much money I’ve spent to date, and they realize
that it would make absolutely no sense to spend another $3,000,000 on top of what has already spent without this development being approved.
Mark: So what assurances can you give them/us that that’s the case?
Will: Probably the biggest insurance is the fact that in anticipation of LPC’s development, I am going to spend another $3,000,000 in capital improvements here
over the next twelve months along with the fact that I’ve already spent over $6,000,000 in capital improvements since I bought it four years ago tomorrow actually December 21, 2018, that should be insurance enough. We completely remodeled and improved our kitchen and completely remodeled and improved the pro shop just this year. That’s as much of a guarantee as I can offer, or anyone would need. It’s fool hearted to think that there is anything nefarious going on here. As you know, in addition we’ve have nine to twelve lots on the far west end that we want to entitle for custom homes that are going to be golf course frontage. We have the three lots on current #16 which are golf course frontage. I’m personally developing all of these lots, not LPC. No one would do all this and go ahead and tear it down, it’s unfathomable.
Mark: Per your email that you sent out last month, it appears that Lincoln is legally obligated to return the remaining golf course property back to your ownership once this project is completed.
Will: That is correct, and it was heavily documented. As soon as they get their legal parcel and their zoning approved, which we hope to have happen here very soon, then the golf course is deeded back even before they break ground. LPC, was willing to pay what they paid knowing they would have golf course frontage. No one will lose any golf frontage on the golf course from the development. Most of the homeowners aren’t remotely impacted or will even be able to see the development. As far as our members,
the members are going to get a beautiful and safe sense of arrival that we don’t have now, what we have now is terrible. We will have a signalized intersection; left in, left out,
right in, right out. That in itself is a huge safety factor, and we’re paying for that. We’re paying for the fourth leg portion of the new intersection. There were only three legs of
the intersection originally planned by ACHD at Pierce Park. We stepped in over 2 years ago, and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars toward engineering and redesign. I think that’s an enormous improvement for the members and especially for the homeowners on Riverside Dr. The new sense of arrival that we’re going to have on what will be “River Club Drive” that looks out across a lake and a brand-new golf course, well that’s going to be amazing. We are currently under-parked, and the new plan almost doubles our current parking.
Mark: You mentioned there’s very few homeowners that are impacted. The comments to the Garden City website are mainly about the influx of people, and the concern is the
streets are going to be flooded with pedestrians with bicycles. Also, intrusion onto the golf course from dogs and walkers that may want to take a tour and walk around the
golf course. How much input do you have directly with Lincoln to address those concerns?
Will: I have a lot of influence with them, we are at the end of the day equally aligned. I want them to be successful and they of course want us to be successful. You have to
remember; this is a process that will work itself through the planning commission and also city council. There’s going to be a lot of opportunity for input from the neighbors. I
love dogs, but I’m going to make sure that there’s not any dogs on this golf course. I want to make sure that people aren’t walking or throwing frisbees, it’s the last thing I
want and I will make sure it doesn’t happen. It’s easily done with widening the current irrigation canal into a real creek on the property line boundary along with wrought iron
fencing and landscaping. For those who live on Fair Oaks Place and Plantation Lane, I’m going to insist on wrought iron fencing. There will simply be no reason for those
people to go down those streets, and they will not have any access. You know, this is a multi-phase project. Starting out on the west side with the 55 and older product and
working its way east. There are four or five phases to this development, and by the time it gets down to the east end it’s five to six years from the time the construction starts.
Mark: Those folks down there (around the Fair Oaks cul de sac) are concerned about the four story building. But in the last month that plan appears to have been softened
(scaled down). What assurances do those folks have that there will be no more than 2-story buildings directly in their sightline around their property?
Will: They’ll see that that is in fact what has been agreed to by LPC, and the current plan reflects that. There is some four-story product that’s setback in front of the office
condos that are there now. Frankly, the line of sight to the mountains is unaffected. The setbacks have increased greatly from the first draft plan. The views are going to be
different but unaffected by what they’re looking at today which is green grass, golf holes, trees, and mountains all of which will be unaffected.
Mark: This last piece of concern is this neighborhood unrest that Mary and Rob Burkshire have addressed. They live on Charleston and they’re saying that high density will destroy property values and that has come up a number of times that the folks who live in proximity to the development are concerned that their property values are going down. Is there any history behind that? Where a development has gone in next to half to million dollar homes and dropped the property values?
Will: Nothing could be farther from the truth. This is going to be a very high-end product with what will be record lease rates for Boise, and the fact is that the vast majority of the
houses won’t even see it. All the traffic will go directly out on State Street which is continues to undergo vast improvements. None of our streets will be impacted with traffic or pedestrians. We believe as far as the golf course is concerned all those who live on the golf course are going to see vast improvements resulting in increased property values, not decreased property values. They will have a brand-new golf course that will look and be
conditioned much better than it does today. They are going to have brand new cart paths, they will have an irrigation system that keeps the grass consistently green wall to
wall, ponds that are improved and stay full. They’re going to have a much better golf course than they have today, no question. Again, I argue that they will see an increase
in their property values.
Mark: Anything else you want to add?
Will: If this was ever going to go away (River Club), I wouldn’t have put a dime in this clubhouse or any of the other improvements and sold the entire property to a home
builder which I had plenty of offers to do just that over the past four years. I surely wouldn’t have spent $6,000,000 to date and about to spend an additional $3,000,000 in
capital improvements because of the anticipation of this development happening. Nobody would. Mark, I love this club. I have come to know many of the members and
value their friendships. The transformation from what was frankly a public-like experience in great need of improvement with an owner who didn’t care to make the
private country club what it is today, one that is coveted by the members who are proud of what it has become, I believe speaks to how far we have come the last four years
and it will only get better, that is my commitment.