The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Residents Weigh in on New Health Club Amenities Proposals

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RSF Garden Club - On Thursday morning, Rancho Santa Fe Board Director and Health Club Committee Chair, Heather Slosar along with Association Manager Bill Overton hosted a town hall meeting to go over the results from the latest survey concerning the implementation of new health club and pool amenities.

Over 30 members attended the morning session to gain a better understanding of the project while also voicing concerns and providing ideas about how best to move forward with the project.

Rick Coyne, CEO of Club Mark Corporation, a consulting firm that has been involved with the health club project, opened the meeting by providing some trends that are taking place in club communities across the country. Highlighting the fact that many younger homebuyers are looking for active lifestyle facilities. “Some of the most important amenities that we are finding in communities today have to do with pool, spa and fitness.” Said Mr. Coyne. 

“Historically we have noted that participation rates in golf and in tennis are on the decline throughout the country.”

The survey that was sent Rancho Santa Fe residents found similar sentiments. It found 91% of respondents favored cardiovascular and free weight equipment while 79% of respondents wanted a lap pool.

That being said, many members in attendance had serious concerns about the new proposals. Most involved noise levels and the potential impact that new pool or fitness facilities would have on the golf course experience.

“How do we keep the noise contained and can the swiming be internal with a roof? Truly oriented toward exercise instead of having noise, cocktails and shrieking” asked Dennis Wenger, a long time resident and orthopedic doctor. His comments highlight the perception that a new pool would likely draw kids and residents looking to socialize.

Board Member Slosar responded by saying nothing is off the table and that everyone’s apprehensions will have to be addressed. “It's a concern that we have heard from many members and its a concern that we will need to overcome in the planning phase” said Slosar. In regards to an indoor pool, Slosar pointed to survey results which found that only 22% of people had a positive view of a covered pool facility.

As to the issue with proximity to the golf course, Association Manager Bill Overton was quick to assure residents that all of their concerns were going to be taken very seriously and will have to be addressed in order to move forward with the project. “One of the most consistent comments that we received was do not destroy the ambience of the golf course… thats been communicated loud and clear” said Mr. Overton.

“If the (project) is gonna pass and have community consensus we have to address it enough to move the needle.”

Residents that attended the night meeting also raised concerns over the building of pools in the middle of one of the worst droughts in States history. With one resident calling the construction of a pool "irresponsible." However recent articles in the Los Angeles Times as well as Rancho Santa Fe Residents discount that argument. In fact studies conducted by the Santa Margarita Water District and many other water districts around California have found that covered pools use the same amount of water as drought tolerant landscape. In light of these new finding many water districts have scaled back restrictions that prohibited the constructions of new pools under their jurisdiction. 

To put the amount of water a potential pool would use in perspective, Golf Club President Deb Gustafson attended the meeting to highlight the golf clubs success in saving eleven million gallons of water a year by removing 18 acres of turf. A new pool would likely use less than 100,000 gallons a year, or less one one tenth of one percent of what the golf course would use over the same period.   

The Thursday meetings were just the first in a series of community forums that will take place over the next year that will aim to address the views of residents before a final proposal is put to the voters next year.