Why the future of Glenmoor Golf Course is in jeopardy
Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM
● By Jennifer Gardiner
Cecil Bohn, who passed away in 2015, built what is now Glenmoor Golf Course in 1968. It became a staple for South Jordan residents and is a popular course for golfers from around the state. Four decades later, due to a dispute between the remaining shareholders, a judge ordered the corporation to dissolve the property to be sold for the highest value.
This immediately threw the city of South Jordan in the middle of a battle over protecting the many residents who own homes in the surrounding areas who want to preserve the golf course, versus allowing an investor to come in and purchase the land to develop it into something else.
By a vote of four to one, city leaders recently approved a resolution that would provide a notice of a pending change to the South Jordan’s zoning map. This proposal would change the existing agricultural zoning that Glenmoore was built on to open space.
South Jordan Mayor David Alvord explained this would put a temporary freeze on applications being presented to the planning committee for the construction of the property while city officials, along with the owners of the golf course, come to a rezoning agreement. He believes their job is to protect the residents of South Jordan over the gain or loss of a property owner’s land.
Cecil Bohn’s daughter Sharon Laub said she heard about the meeting through other residents and was upset about not being notified. During the meeting, it became clear the owners have an undesirable conflict with the rest of the residents have who property along the golf course.
Laub said during the council meeting that rezoning the property to open space would significantly decrease the value, and property owners collectively stand to lose millions of dollars.
Marc Pehkonen is president of the Glenmoor Village Skye Homeowners Association. He lives on Skye Drive, which borders parts of the golf course. The development was the first of the properties to be built at Glenmoor. Pehkonen said his home has been in his wife’s family since 1975.
“It’s a fantastic place to live,” Pehkonen said. “The buffer that the golf course provides makes what is essentially a small and unassuming property a beautiful oasis in what is fast becoming an unbroken sea of development in this part of the valley.”
Pehkonen agrees with what city leaders are trying to do and said many people who spoke at the city council meeting made excellent points, going beyond the considerations of property value.
“Increased traffic access through the neighborhood and undue burden on the local schools, which are already operating at capacity, would depress many more property prices than just the residences that directly border the golf course,” Pehkonen said. “I feel for the owners of the golf course and hope the city is able to negotiate with them and recognize their property rights, but I believe this is an occasion where the harm to the many would outweigh the potential harm to the few.”
The one city council member who opposed the resolution, Brad Marlor, said he voted against the resolution because he believes the best first step with the landowners would be face-to-face meetings in a work study session with the council and staff.
“I believe placing the item on the agenda without even inviting the landowners to the meeting was unconscionable,” Marlor said. “The council essentially voted to begin the process of downzoning their property without any discussion with the landowners. I, of course, voted against that resolution. I believe the action of the council only served to provoke the landowners and polarize them.”
During the next council session, Marlor was asked whether he had any direct conflict of interest relating to the golf course. He addressed the issues in a statement.
“I was approached by a law firm, who essentially said they needed to provide a candidate as a receiver, and because of my professional background in mergers and acquisitions, he asked me if I would consider being a receiver for Glenmoor Golf Course,” he said. “I found out more about what that entailed, and I spent a few days thinking about that. If I had been appointed receiver, that would put me in conflict with what I do here as a city council member, and I elected to decline that opportunity.”
While it was not made clear at the council meeting why they are in a lawsuit with the other shareholders, Tamara Schneiter, whose father’s estate owns the other 50 percent, said it was partially due to Bohn’s daughter Mary Lou Coates’ embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the golf course.
Court documents show as part of civil litigation, Coates signed a Confession of Judgement acknowledging she embezzled Glenmoor funds and owes $873,841.21 to Glenmoor. She was charged criminally for $70,000 in checks written between June and August of 2010. On Nov. 2, Coates pleaded guilty to second-degree felony communications fraud and is now serving a six-month sentence. She was also ordered to serve 3,600 hours of community service and will be on probation for 36 months.
“The repeated attempts to conceal Mary Coates’ embezzlement caused the friction among the Schneiter and Bohn family and is reason for the possible rezoning of Glenmoor,” Schneiter said. “The hostility between the owners is a result of the repeated attempts to conceal the financial malfeasance and preclude discovery that might reveal any additional financial malfeasance.”
It is still unclear what exactly is going to happen to the Glenmoor Golf Course or when city officials will be discussing this issue further, but one thing is clear, the Glenmoor property will be sold, and the corporation that has run the golf course for over four decades will dissolve.