Ballots will be issued on April 4th and are to be returned by May 5th to vote on whether the Rancho Santa Fe Homeowners Association should purchase the Garden Club building for a purchase price of $2.4 million dollars, plus a $400,000 mandatory reserve. The Garden Club will distribute the proceeds from the sale to non-profit charities of their choosing.
The Garden Club currently has 300 members; some are part of the covenant, others are not. The Garden Club is used for activities including Garden Club meetings, Cotillion and 8th grade graduation. Alternative venues such as the school’s performing arts center, the Community Center, and the Golf Club are available for such events.
When the advisory vote of the community was held last spring, about 750 voters of 3200 potential voters cast a ballot. Most voted in favor of the purchase. At the time, no one was told that the Garden Club would maintain full use of the office, meeting, and storage facilities, thereby encumbering the building. Information regarding the donating of proceeds from the sale were not disclosed either.
The Garden Club has approximately $500,000 in the bank and the property is zoned for two residential lots.
If the Association buys the building, attracting events, like weddings and parties, would be in direct competition with the Golf Club.
Further, there have been requests from many community members for various alternative uses of our funds, including: building high speed internet infrastructure, enhancing the use of the community center, building a pool and fitness center, and improving cell phone coverage.
The following are some arguments for and against the purchase:
• The Garden Club has been a part of the RSF community from its inception.
• It is the oldest organization in Rancho Santa Fe
• Membership has declined from 1,800 to 300, making it more difficult for the Garden Club to finance the building.
• Time and money spent on taking care of the building distracts the Club from performing its charitable work.
• The proceeds will be used for charitable purposes.
• The building has a lot of extra parking.
• The $6 million in the community enhancement fund should go towards projects that address more serious deficiencies in the community such as high speed internet, cell phone service, a pool, a recreation center, or other projects that will enhance the value of individual homes.
• We already spent $14 million for the Osuna Ranch and most people don’t know where it is.
• There is no plan to make the building economically viable or an explanation as to why it is a better use of our limited resources compared to other possible expenditures.
• Dinners, dances, and graduations can be held at the Osuna Ranch, the community center, or the Golf Course. Another building is not necessary.