San Clemente : City Delays Action on Golf Course Offer

A developer’s offer to give the city 200 acres of land for a new municipal golf course will be “explored” but not immediately accepted, the City Council decided last week.

Costa Mesa-based Western Savings & Loan Assn., developer of the 2,000-acre Rancho San Clemente project, offered to give the city the land if it would agree to build and maintain an 18-hole golf course. The development company would build and operate a clubhouse and restaurant, and also seeks wants blocks of starting times reserved for guests of a hotel it is planning to build nearby.

City Manager James Hendrickson had asked the council for permission to hammer out an agreement on the public-private course. But the council, after hearing from golf committee chairman Tom Dunn that Camp Pendleton remains the city’s first choice for a new course, directed Hendrickson to work with the committee and explore the possibility of a Rancho San Clemente course without making a commitment.

“The land in the backcountry looks like a favorable piece of property, and I’m sure it would make a fine golf course,” Dunn said. “But we feel we should wait until we can absolutely resolve the Pendleton property one way or another. That’s the ideal place, since we already have a course adjacent to it.”

The city has been trying for over a decade to build a new course on Camp Pendleton--on land leased to the state for a park and located outside the city and county limits--but the Marines, saying they fear “civilian encroachment,” have not allowed it. Dunn said a new proposal would soon be sent to the Secretary of the Navy.