POWAY (NEWS 8) - Voters in Poway on Tuesday took part in a special election to decide the fate of the controversial development proposal at the StoneRidge Country Club.
Ballots continue to be counted Tuesday night, but preliminary results showed residents leaning against Measure A.
Chris Prine has been a member at the course for nearly 3 decades and says he understands the concerns of those voting yes - and those voting no on Measure A.
“It’s a really difficult issue,” Prine said.
The club's owner Michael Schlesinger says he's losing money every month, so he wants the right to build up to 180 luxury condos on the property that he'll sell as an over-age-55 community.
But before that can happen, he needs voters to approve Measure A that will rezone the land.
Measure A would amend the city's general plan to rezone up to 25 acres of the county club from an "open space-recreation" designation to "residential condominium."
The owner says if a doesn't pass, he'll move on to “plan b,” which is to shut the whole course down.
It's the same thing he did with another golf course he owns in Escondido, which is now an eyesore.
“If he closes it down, he won't cut the grass, won't water the grass - all of a sudden you're looking at a situation like Escondido Country Club, which is burnt out and brown,” said Prine.
The other side of the coin is - he's putting 180 condos on the front nine,” added Prine. “It won't be the same golf course [and] it's the most underrated golf course in San Diego.”
The golf course's owner is paying for Tuesday’s special election, which requires a simple majority to pass.
The issue has definitely divided residents, but the City of Poway has remained neutral.
Supporters contend the measure would protect open space and an 18-hole golf course while providing a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse open to the public.
Campaigning mostly via social media, opponents said golf course owner Michael Schlesinger shouldn't be trusted, based on his track record in other cities, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“There's a pro and con to every side of this,” said Poway Mayor Steve Vaus.
Vaus says more housing means more tax dollars, but even that comes with a price.
“You bring in more people, it will cost more to keep them safe, more to keep roads paved, more to keep firefighters available all throughout the city,” he said.
If the condos are approved the owner also says he'll rebuild the clubhouse and open it up to the public, but the tennis courts will be torn down with no plans to build new ones.
Polls were open at 28 locations around the city until 8 p.m. Registered voters unable to make it to a polling place can cast ballots at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office at 5600 Overland Ave. until 8 p.m.