Wellington Still Gathering Info Needed For Binks Forest Decision

Wellington staff is waiting for its own independent appraisals of the Binks Forest Golf Course property in order to make a recommendation to the Wellington Village Council on whether the village should buy the course.

The council asked tor appraisals in addition to the owners’ appraisal, which valued the property at about $3.6 million. The price being discussed by the council and staff is closer to $3 million, based on the condition of the course.

“As soon as we have those appraisals, we’ll go back to the council with a recommendation,” Village Manager Paul Schofield told the Town-Crier on Tuesday.

Schofield noted that the council needs to know a great deal of information before a decision can be made.

“They wanted verification of our estimated cost to do the restorations,” he said. “They also requested that we do some outreach to residents in the Binks communities and the associations themselves.”

The council discussed funding for a possible golf course purchase during budget discussions, which included a preference for using a bond issue rather than buying the property with cash on hand.

At a Sept. 24 council meeting, Director of Operations Jim Barnes said that he had talked to two appraisers about preparing estimates on the value of the course.

Councilwoman Anne Gerwig asked about the estimated cost to bring the course up to proper standards, and Barnes said that the village’s estimate is higher than the owner’s.

“I’m not necessarily prepared to go to the number that has been provided by the owner, although they do have reputable sources for that,” Barnes said. “We haven’t been able to fully compare their estimates to the estimates that we have.”

Village Attorney Laurie Cohen pointed out that the course has a restrictive covenant that was created by the council when Binks Forest sold its driving range for the development of 96 townhouses. The land is restricted to golf and related facilities, including a clubhouse and other non-commercial recreation activities.

“It’s a covenant that runs with the land, so it not only binds the existing property owner but future property owners,” Cohen said, explaining that the Village of Wellington is the force of the restrictive covenant because it is the beneficiary.

“In order to release the restrictive covenant, it would have to be executed by Wellington and the property owner,” Cohen added. “Wellington has an absolute right to amend the restrictive covenant without the joinder of any party, but has to submit any kind of modification, or the release of the restrictive covenant, to the voters through a referendum process.”

Gerwig pointed out that a release of the restrictive covenant must also be approved by all five members of the council.

Councilman Matt Willhite said he would like to know the status of the planned townhouse development and when the builder plans to break ground.

Vice Mayor John Greene asked staff to reach out to the neighboring communities to get their opinion on the purchase.

“Clearly, they are going to be impacted by whatever decision is made,” Greene said.


  1. The purchase of Binks by the Village is the only way to save it. The Village is so far in the black, it’s looking for ways to spend money. New sidewalks that don’t even need replacing? Tearing up grass on easements and replanting it when the grass was fine in the first place? Need I go on. Buy the course, make it a line item in the budget, and bring the course back to its glory. Can we say “Torrey Pines”? Hello…….it’s a gold mine for the village.

  2. This is the Village of Wellingtons money,which is the taxpayers of Wellington.We all should have a say as we all will bear the cost.No one is buying this golf course and it’s a loosing properstion for them and Village in the tune of $600,000 or more a year just to maintain as open space.Need to pay for water as well for the grass,insurance ect..
    Fact, it was oniy 90 town house allowed not 96.When did that change?The new developer is already scaling back on trees and hedging to block views which was in this deal. They are not good neigbor now and chances are they will never be. What happened to transparency.To many things are happening behind closed doors.
    Remember we can vote them out in March.They are looking for the 5 community votes.We got sand bags once.Don’t let it happen again.Speak up now as a whole community.

  3. Why are they only asking Bink’s residents if they want the Village to buy Bink’s golf course? They should be asking the entire Village what they think about buying the course. Bink’s residents won’t be paying all the costs, ALL of us will be paying. A survey should be undertaken (ah, but then if the Council doesn’t like the results, it finds fault with the survey! that’s past experience with this particular Council)

    For a Council that had to pick and choose, prioritize what Needed infrastructure projects should to be undertaken, -leaving too many IMPORTANT SAFETY projects put off until another time,- and then plans to spend millions and millions to purchase and then millions more to update, plus on-going costs to maintain the Bink’s Golf Course puts the Village in more economic debt.Thanks, Matt Willhite!

    Willhite and his pals wants the Village to take on a special debt to fund the Bink’s purchase.

    Why Bink’s, why not the Wanderer’s Executive Course?
    Why Bink’s, why not the Greenview Shores Golf Course?
    Why Bink’s, why not the abandon Polo Golf Course?

    Is Wellington going to buy up every golf course that becomes a financial problem? Or does the Council only cater to the residents of Binks?

    Before any Bink’s purchase goes through, the Council should ALL (5) vote to rescind the restrictive covenant (Funny, how the Council wants the residents to approve an Amendment to lessen the number of Council votes needed to approve THEIR PAY RAISE for them, but accepts a UNANIMOUS, PERFECT VOTE for putting out a referendum to the residents on a change from golf activities to other activities (equine and natural park related).

    The Council does not need residents’ approval to buy Bink’s.

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