AHWATUKEE, Ariz. - After a years-long battle, the courts have ruled for a second time regarding the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course. Last year, the court ruled the owners of the property had to restore the dilapidated golf course back to what it once was. After an appeal, that ruling stands.
This second ruling came down Thursday by the Arizona Court of Appeals. We spoke with a few homeowners who have lived here for years and have been fighting this fight. One homeowner tells us it was originally a $20,000 extra charge for living on the course. He says now his property value is down by at least $50,000.
Look at this isn't what Nancy Schermerhorn and her husband, Ronald, had in mind when they bought their golf course property on the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course. The once luscious, lake-filled links are now brown, weed-filled fields. It's been this way for nearly six years.
"It's a mess," Nancy said. "You buy here because you want to see the golf course and the golfers go by and the golf balls and now, we look out here at this."
"We have lost over 150 trees on this golf course because he wouldn't water because he wanted to make a mess of it," Ronald said.
In 2018, the courts ruled True Life Companies, who owns the property, must restore it back to a golf course and only a golf course. this is something the Arizona Court of Appeals judge agreed with. In the opinion letter, the judge stated TTLC knowingly violated the covenant and bought the property with the sole intent to redevelop it into a lucrative residential development and allowed the property to further deteriorate while pursuing that goal.
"The CC&R's is interpreted like other contracts in Arizona," said plaintiff's attorney Tim Barnes. "It was that there should be an operational golf course here and that the material change would have to be shown by the True Life and/or Mr. G. and that they didn't do that and couldn't do that and my clients were entitled to an injunction to restore this golf course."
The Shermerhorns are happy with this second ruling but aren't celebrating just yet.
"I'm not having 18-year-old Scotch until I start seeing some greens and holes and everything out there," Ronald said. "We've been through too much."
The ownership company does have the right to ask the Arizona Supreme Court to look at the case. If the Supreme Court denies to review it, the ruling stands.
We reached out to the ownership company for a comment, but no one got back to us.