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By Allison Jarrell

The City Council voted Nov. 15 to reconsider selling a parcel of land to the San Juan Hills Golf Course as part of a settlement agreement with the course.

Back in September, the golf course announced in a press release that litigation brought against the city in 2014 over groundwater rights had been settled. Per that settlement, the city paid $2,040,000 to the golf club, with $2 million paid by the city’s insurer. The city also announced the sale of a piece of land adjacent to the course, which has an appraised market value of $140,000.

The Council held a public hearing on Nov. 15 regarding the abandonment and sale of that land, which sits at the corner of La Novia and San Juan Creek Road. During public comment, newly elected District 5 City Councilman Brian Maryott said the sale is an “absolute mistake.”

“I don’t know what in the world giving away city park property has to do with resolution of this water issue,” Maryott said. “The two are unrelated.”

With the public’s comments in mind, Council members discussed ways to reexamine the settlement. City Manager Ben Siegel advised the Council that the city avoided a “substantially higher cash payment” to the course by including the sale of the parcel. Siegel said if the city were to renegotiate the settlement without the land, he does not expect the city’s insurer would contribute to an additional cash payment.

The Council’s vote was split several times before Mayor Pam Patterson renewed the initial motion to continue the item to Dec. 6. The vote was 3-1-0, with Councilman Sam Allevato opposed. Councilman John Perry recused himself due to his home’s proximity to the golf course.

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