The fate of two North County golf courses will be decided in a few months in very different ways.
Both are owned by business entrepreneur Michael Schlesinger. Both were purchased several years ago at bargain rates because they were failing. And both are country clubs, one in Escondido, the other in Poway.
Stoneridge Country Club in Poway appears to be on its way to seeing some development, even though the zoning was stacked against it. While in Escondido, where the courts have ruled Schlesinger has the right to build houses, a major battle still looms in what has already been a highly contentious affair.
In both cases the country clubs were struggling financially, especially in Escondido. Schlesinger shut down that course within a few months of its purchase saying the return of golf was out of the question.
In Stoneridge, where local zoning dictated that the space could only be used for a golf course or some other type of open space recreation, Schlesinger said he would try to saved the course and turn the club’s finances around.
As time went on, however, that didn’t happen and Schlesinger tried to sell Stoneridge. There were no takers. Golf courses all over the country are struggling as interest in the sport has waned. A course building boom in the ’80s and ’90s has led to a glut of courses, especially in San Diego County.
Through his representatives, Schlesinger made it clear to nearby homeowners and city officials that some sort of development plan needed to happen or else the course likely would have to be closed.
In Escondido, hundreds of homes on or near the golf course have lost value because they now line…
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