Question: My husband and I are looking to buy a new home in the Southeast Valley. We looked at a Chandler development, and the CC&Rs said that an 18-hole championship golf course would be built on land not far from our new home. My husband loves to play golf but I have no interest in golf. I would rather buy a new home in a Gilbert community with access to the shops and restaurants in downtown Gilbert. Will the Chandler developer have to build the golf course because of the representations in the CC&Rs? If so, how long does the Chandler developer of the golf course have to keep the golf course operating? Help me from becoming a golf widow!
Answer: First, if the Chandler developer doesn’t build the golf course as stated in the CC&Rs, a court would probably not require the building of the golf course. You and your husband should still have a claim against the Chandler developer for loss in value of your home because the golf course was never built. Second, if the Chandler developer, or a subsequent owner, builds the golf course but stops operating the golf course, the owner of the golf course could be required to continue to operate the golf course. In a recent Court of Appeals decision, the CC&Rs of an Ahwatukee community required the building and operation of a golf course on a parcel of land. The owner of the golf course, however, removed the grass, drained the lakes, and installed barbed wire around the golf course. The neighboring property owners filed a lawsuit for continued operation of the golf course. This owner of the golf course argued to the Court of Appeals that, because golf is not as popular now as when the golf course was built, under the doctrine of change in circumstances the CC&Rs were amended by law to allow the owner to stop operating the golf course. The Court of Appeals disagreed with this argument, and ruled that the owner had an affirmative obligation to continue to operate the golf course.