River Valley Ranch Golf in Carbondale gets new owner
The River Valley Ranch Golf Course in Carbondale found a new owner last week who hopes to shape the property into something more in line with the community’s character.
Crystal Outdoors LLC, managed by Dan Coleman, acquired the golf course Nov. 15, according to David Myler, the attorney representing the transaction.
The purchase concludes several months of consternation from the RVR neighborhood and the larger community over the future of the golf course, after the former owner said the golf course would close permanently if he couldn’t find a buyer.
Myler confirmed that the sale was finalized, but would not disclose the sales price. The Garfield County Clerk and Recorder had not yet registered a deed as of Monday.
Myler also had represented Dale Rands, the previous owner of RVR Golf, since he acquired the property six years ago from the Crown family, owners of Aspen Skiing Co.
“The No. 1 item on the agenda is to figure out if we can get the golf course open for next season,” Myler said.
Crystal Outdoors is funded in part by several silent investors who are familiar with the area, Myler said. Coleman, a contractor and home builder, and his wife, Wynee Coleman, rent a home in the RVR neighborhood.
The RVR Golf Course fell on troubled financial times this year. Rands told the homeowner’s association during the summer that it would have to shut down unless the neighborhood subsidized the golf operations or allowed residential development on part of the property.
The golf course is open to the public, but is privately owned and operated, and development is restricted under the town of Carbondale’s planned unit development. RVR Golf asked town officials in July for the chance to rezone a portion of the course, specifically the driving range at the entrance to the community near Highway 133.
The town determined that it would not consider rezoning the property unless at least 50 percent of the RVR neighborhood supported it. The HOA conducted a survey, and 76 percent of respondents said they strongly opposed rezoning the area. More than 40 percent of respondents said they did not golf at the RVR course at all.
The Colemans shared a one-page document with the RVR Golf Advisory Committee on Nov. 12 that describes Crystal Outdoors’ vision for the course.
“Our passion is to work together to create a wonderful plan that all RVR can enjoy,” the document said.
Among the goals listed for the project are an upgraded restaurant that would be open year-round, to build a flagship entrance near the driving parcel and to work with the community to find the best combination of amenities.
Possible uses besides golf include walking trails, a dog park, playground and cross-country ski trails in the winter.
The vision document said the amenities must be sustainable and not dependent on subsidies from the community.
Gary Lesser, HOA board member and head of the Golf Advisory Committee, said he isn’t certain what aspects of the Coleman’s plans would require rezoning. Renovation of the restaurant, which is already part of the property, would not require rezoning, but other development might.
Any changes will be evaluated on long-term sustainability, whether it will affect the nature of the neighborhood and how it will affect property values, Lesser said.
The HOA is open to considering formal proposals, Lesser said, but in the end must do what the community wishes.
“We may have slightly differing interests. Our interest is doing what’s right for the RVR community, that’s all we’re chartered to do,” Lesser said.
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The crises between January 2009 and Tuesday, when he stepped down from the Pitkin County board, have bookended a political career that Newman said he thinks lived up to the slogan on the yard sign from his first campaign he still keeps in his garage: “Preserve, Conserve, Collaborate.”