The owners of San Ramon Golf Club are strongly considering closing the 18-hole golf course in the south-central part of the city as a cost-cutting measure, according to the club's golf director.
Elaborating on why the club's pool was shut down days earlier, director of golf Dan Griffin told pool members in an email Tuesday that closing the pool was necessary for financial reasons -- and closure of the golf course could well be the next step -- because ownership's plan to add housing to part of the property appeared unlikely to receive city support.
"With no prospect to be able to add additional homes that would allow substantial investment in the golf course and the pool, (club ownership) recognized that they could not continue to keep the pool, and most likely the golf course, open in their current financial condition," Griffin wrote in the email, a copy of which was obtained by DanvilleSanRamon.com.
Griffin, who did not respond to multiple requests for additional comment, said in his email that the club's ownership had conversations with city officials about a potential housing plan at the course, but "the city rebuffed their proposal plans."
San Ramon City Manager Greg Rogers confirmed Wednesday that two members of the city's Planning Division spoke with a golf club representative about ownership's desire to build homes at the site, but Rogers said no development application has been filed with the city.
"The golf course representative inquired about building residential units on the golf course property, and he was informed by staff that the property is not zoned for residential units so any application for residual units could not be processed," Rogers said.
Any residential development proposal on golf course property would require approval of a general plan amendment to change the site's land-use designation, a rezoning and a full environmental impact report, Rogers said. The general plan amendment would need four-fifths approval by the Planning Commission and City Council.
It wasn't immediately clear how many and what types of homes the club's ownership wants to build and where the residences would sit. In his email, Griffin said the plan called for "some housing on a small portion of the golf course."
Tucked about two miles east of Interstate 680, the 18-hole golf course winds through a residential neighborhood as well as near the Iron Horse Regional Trail and open spaces. The club also features a driving range, swimming pool and the Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center at its main address on Fircrest Lane off Alcosta Boulevard.
Club officials announced to pool membership on Friday that the pool would not open at all this year. The news came two days before the San Ramon Aqua Bears were set to start their 2016 season at the club, the home pool for the youth swim team for nearly three decades, according to Aqua Bears co-chair Sarah Eddings.
Closing the pool was "an agonizing decision for ownership," Griffin said in his email to members. He also said club officials apologized for the "significant inconvenience" the pool shutdown caused.
"When ownership bought the golf course, they did so knowing they would have to make a substantial investment in the infrastructure, as no material capital expenses had been allocated to the surrounding area for decades," Griffin wrote.
"Execution of this (housing) plan would provide the resources needed to make the required capital improvements to keep the golf course and the pool financially viable," he said, adding:
"If circumstances change, and ownership sees a path forward towards allowing some homes on the site, we will let you know. Only then will they be able to secure funds that would allow us to re-open the pool, prevent the golf course from closing and make substantial investment into the property."
As for the possibility of the golf course shutting down, San Ramon's city manager said, "A closure of the golf course would be a loss of a recreational opportunity for the community, as well as having a likely negative impact on homeowners who live around the golf course."