What's next for former golf course in Escondido - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

What's next for former golf course in Escondido

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ESCONDIDO (CBS 8) - North County homeowners are looking to the future after defeating a plan to develop the former Escondido Country Club golf course on the November ballot.

“We would like to keep it as close to what is now as possible but we know we can't, we know there has to be change,” said Marilyn Norman, resident.

Members of the Escondido Country Club Homeowners Organization (ECCHO) packed Life Church Tuesday night to anxiously learn how to move forward with their battle to keep the dried up land as green space and not a housing addition.

“What's next, what's happening to the property? Well I can tell you not much is happening and this is going to be a long, long process,” said ECCHO President, Mike Slater.

In November during the general elections voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition H which would have turned the closed-down golf course into a 430 housing development. Sixty percent voted no.

“It's not time to gloat because with the victory comes the responsibility,” said ECCHO attorney Ken Lounsbery.

Those who opposed and cast their vote "no" feel they have the responsibility to recommend what they want on the 110 acres.

“When you take a big amenity like a golf course away from the community that was built around it you kind of take the heart out of the community. If you are going to do that than you need to replace it with some heart,” said Rick Elkin, Escondido realtor.

The Beverly Hills developer Michael Schlesinger's company Stuck in the Rough did not return CBS News 8's messages for a comment.

In the past Schlesinger has said he doesn't want to sell the property. There's a pending lawsuit against the city filed by Schlesinger against the council who deemed the land open space, blocking the housing development.

So homeowners are writing out ideas including reviving the golf course.

“I don't have any doubt it can be that it can be a golf course and be successful,” said ECCHO resident, Melinda Girardeau.

Residents are also offering the idea of possibly re-zoning the land to build a boutique hotel or a winery. At the meeting members said with the voter turnout they believe they have a say in zoning. 

The deadline to submit ideas to ECHHO is December 31. Those ideas will be shared with city leaders.

Despite the developer who lost to an army of voters he outspent in a $1 million campaign, residents remain cautiously optimistic.

“There is always that doubt. We don't know what is going to happen because he is going to put up a fight no matter what,” said Girardeau.

The attorney for the homeowners organization says it could take years until the land is developed.

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