Letters to the Editor

Twin Lakes needs golf club | Federal Way letters

I attended the first Twin Lakes Homeowners Association meeting concerning the country club’s dwindling finances and potential demise, but I had to leave early to pick up my children at the Aquatic Center.

I heard that there were more against than there were for the proposition to increase monthly homeowner fees by $25. I did not hear the word “contentious” used to describe the proceedings, and I hope it never comes to that. After all, it is a neighborhood where our next door neighbor and fellow homeowners are within 25 feet on either side. Many of us either walk or jog through Twin Lakes daily, it would be a shame to go down the street and view our neighbors’ homes as a place where people live who were for or against this issue and to view them as adversaries when we would otherwise be friends.

With that being said, I am for the proposition of increasing fees by $25 a month and saving the country club. I have many reasons for my position, but the greatest is economic. I want to preserve, maintain and enhance the value of my home in Twin Lakes.

The best case alternate scenario to saving the club by the homeowners association would be that another entity would take over the operations of the club. That would likely be a public entity because people with the means are not investing in golf-oriented clubs because the returns are nil (hundreds of country clubs throughout the country are suffering from the same problems). If the city or the county took over, what would the golf course look like? We have already heard of threats to close parks in our area because governmental agencies are strapped, so don’t expect to see the green, green grass that presently graces 320th Street. If the club walks away and the grounds are just left to grow weeds and become playgrounds for mountain bikers and dirt bikers, we will have a worse situation to contend with than errant golf balls. We will have the biggest vacant lot in Federal Way.

If the club goes away, we will be faced with a large piece of unmaintained land that will become out of control and a liability within a week or two of its abandonment. That does not only affect the safety and well being of those who have homes on the golf course right now, but it also affects everyone in Twin Lakes. Real estate values, for the most part, rely on comparables meaning recent sales of like properties. So, if the value of a house on the golf course drops because their backyard has turned into a unruly patch of dirt where a manicured fairway used to be, all properties within a certain distance or the same neighborhood will lose their value.

Suppose that the average Twin Lakes home is currently worth $350,000, and the club closes its doors and causes a modest 5 percent drop in real estate value (estimates are as high as 10 percent). That would be a drop of $17,500 in the value of the homes in the area on average. $25 added to our monthly TLHOA fees amount to $300 per year; it would take 58 years and four months to match the value lost in our average home. Most of us have already seen the appraised values of our homes drop over the past two years. If the country club closes, our losses will be exacerbated.

I have lived in Twin Lakes both as an owner on the golf course and off the golf course. I am also 65 and retired, as many concerned residents of Twin Lakes are, except my wife has to work while I take care of the house and children.

In most cases, our homes are our most valuable material assets. I call on all homeowners to protect those assets and our neighborhood by saving the Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club.

Matt Sato, Federal Way

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