Diversified Pacific Works with Upland to Refurbish Upland Hills golf course
By Liset Márquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
UPLAND >> Upland Hills Country Club homeowners have backed a plan to build condos surrounding the golf course, recognizing it could save the diamond green.
The 18-hole public course and surrounding land, straddling 16th Street and developed starting in the 1980s, now has 544 units. Sale of the property to Rancho Cucamonga-based Diversified Pacific would allow the course owners to pay off the $5.8 million they still owe on their 2005 purchase and better maintain the pitch.
The proposal by the developer will shorten two of the greens to build 68 detached condominiums on 8.4 acres on the northeast corner of 16th Street and North Upland Hills Drive.
The first step to shorten the Upland Hills Golf Course was unanimously approved by the Upland Planning Commission last week.
“Upland needs it golf course, period,” resident Albert Hernandez told the commission. “There’s nothing around here since they closed Empire Lakes.”
The developer will set aside $749,000 to the city for improvements at the golf course. As a condition of the approval, Diversified Pacific must first make the improvements to the golf course and then get reimbursed by the city. It will have one year, from when the permits are issued, to complete the work.
“It’s quite a commitment on their part,” Upland Senior Planner Jerry Guarracino said.
Peter Pitassi, partner with Diversified Pacific Development, said the home builder worked on the plans with planning staff for more than a year.
The developer also met with a representative from the homeowners associations on the south and north sides of the country club. The latter included meeting with the board and its members, he said.
Documents were also left in the clubhouse with details for the project. The conceptual plans include seven floor plans, ranging from 1,390 square feet to 2,420 square feet. The units will incorporate California Spanish and Hacienda architectural styles.
The project would bring the total number of housing units to 612 units on the 215 acres in the Upland Hills Country Club Specific Plan, Pitassi said.
“We have a high interest in maintaining this golf course as a successful operating entity,” he added.
The company’s proposal also includes a covenant which could protect the golf course and homeowners. The owner of the golf course, or any future owners, cannot take on any other debt and secure it with the golf course without the vote of the homeowners association, Planning Commission Chairman Gary Schwary said.
“You have a voice in any potential future debt that could be encumbered. It will be a debt-free operation unless you decide to give them the right to take on the debt,” Commissioner Shelly Verrinder told residents in attendance Wednesday.
The site improvements will be done all at once, but the homes will be built in phases, between five and seven per phase.
“It will be based on absorption,” Pitassi said.
Planning Commissioner Carolyn Andersen described Upland Hills as “a diamond — it’s a prestigious place to live, and play.” Which is why she asked about the price range for the condos, but Pitassi said those figures haven’t been determined.
Upland Hills golf course could be shortened to make way for 68 condos
Commissioner Bill Velto questioned why Diversified Pacific opted to build condominiums versus larger homes.
“This is something that has something that has kind of caught me off guard. We’re here to look at the best land use. A condominium value versus a planned development, I would say it’s less,” he said. “In the long run, it would benefit that land to be a planned development.”
A majority of the speakers Wednesday night spoken in favor of the project, acknowledging they would rather see a vibrant golf course, even it meant shortening the course, to protect their property values.
“We are in support of this project. We think this is the only way to save the golf course,” said Ann Hamer, who lives by the first tee.
To build the condominiums, an amendment to the Upland Hills Country Club Specific Plan must be approved. With the commission’s blessing, the development now goes to the City Council for approval.