and Video Courtesy of Channel 12 First Coast News
February 22, 2015
JACKSONVILLE -- A neighborhood newsletter is leaving Ft. Caroline
homeowners with questions. The Hidden Hills Country Club Estates
Homeowner's Association is threatening a new, forced membership fee that
may or may not save the club's golf course.
"I think they're in a bit of financial
trouble," said Becky Lacour, a 38-year Hidden Hills Country
Club member and homeowner for 9 years.
"And I just know in general that membership has been down,"
said homeowner Kelly Arledge.
A 30-year zoning ordinance for the Hidden Hills Golf Course
expires this July. In the neighborhood's latest newsletter -
homeowner association president Paul Franks – wrote "the
land could convert to anything, including low income
multi-family housing. To avoid this – he says the only
option presented is to add a monthly $96 membership fee for
"I've talked to a lot of members who say they don't think it's legal for
him to do that," said Lacour.
But – Franks goes on to say – "even if this were achieved, they would
not guarantee the land will remain a golf course."
|"That's not something you can decide
because of the club's financial reasons after the fact, this
is people's homes and lives, you can't just come to them
afterwards without a reason for a rule change," said Arledge.
Arledge is a homeowner, but no longer a club member. She's
concerned over the loss of property value if the golf course
And it's not just the golf course in jeopardy, it's the
identity of the country club and everything that's
associated with being a member.
"I think most of the people who live here, the club
is a very big part of their life. I think it's a very big dilemma," said
Lacour. She says most of the club's funds come from members who don't
have the privilege of living on the golf course.
"What would low-income housing do to this neighborhood? It would make a
lot of people unhappy, not just me," said Lacour.
Still, Lacour says she highly doubts that would actually happen.
FCN reached out to Franks, who wrote the message, but he declined to
We did speak to the country club's owner Russ Libby, who was unavailable
to speak on camera, but tells us they're working to find the best
solution for everyone.
He could not speak to Franks' message.