Is there a hidden agenda that the OVA Board is trying to impose on the village membership, as was suggested? Are Steve Spanier and Tom Kendrick acting as co-regent, imposing a concealed program of steady and stealthy expansion on Oakmont?

The record shows otherwise. The demise of the Oakmont Golf Club (OGC) operation demanded an expeditious solution. Some 225 acres of land in the heart of the community were at risk of being bought by an outside entity. With an 73 percent approval vote to increase dues, the purchase of the property for $3.6 million was thus facilitated. 

The immediate question was whether or not to continue with golf as a main attraction, or to find another purpose. The board decided to proceed with the former, a commitment that found not universal acceptance. A deal with Advance Golf Partners (AGP) fell through just recently, and negotiations with other potential lessees continue.

As for the rehabilitation of our core area – our downtown – the  Berger Center lies at the heart of a long simmering controversy. The more than half a century old building is in need of rejuvenation. The 2017/18 board decided on just such an action. 

While the construction of a new community hall has been talked about for some time, the Spanier Board decided to proceed energetically with an expanded vision, and tasked the architectural firm ArchiLogix to submit site and preliminary plans that include a Berger II.

In the summer of 2019 Spanier stated: “The stage is set. Oakmont is an attractive place to retire in a wealthy part of the world, just as many people are looking to retire. Oakmont is becoming, and will continue to become a wealthier community.”

With these words in mind, the future of Oakmont is being outlined by the present board. And it is precisely this prospect of ‘new and more’ that has alarmed a segment of our residents. The necessity of incurring a significant debt of $10 to $15 million is being vigorously opposed by those who question the wisdom of building a new center.

The uncertainty of the golf course project, combined with a major rehabilitation and building program amounts to a financial burden that seems at best unwise for this time.

What is proposed by the opponents of the board’s plans, is to concentrate our efforts on a successful disposition of the golf course question, and to bring to scale the downtown program with a thorough remodel of the existing Berger Center. A committee tasked specifically to research Oakmont’s capacity found that space availability at present was adequate now and in the future.

Photo: ArchiLogix renderings for Oakmont Central Business Center previously rejected by OVA membership

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  1. Malka Osserman on September 10, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    We need to seriously orginize to tople this sinister plan. The CETC committee, the Education and Transperancy committee is working on a new survey of the wants and needs and they are shoving this in our throats without considering the survey results. We have power and we need to derail this. They are saying it is in the long term. There is a huge mistrust with Steve and Tom. Let’s use our power and withold our money. Perhaps they can pay for it. I am seething.

    • Yvonne Frauenfelder on September 11, 2020 at 6:06 am

      Hello Malka –

      Your enthusiasm and ‘can-do’ spirit is much appreciated. Considering that you seemingly lost your home at one time to corporate negligence, your concerns are understood. Perhaps, channeling your anger into sober opposition to the board’s expansionist plans would be the most helpful.

      Spanier and Kendrick are neither corrupt nor sinister, they simply hold a different opinion about the immediate future of our village. Since many of us are persuaded that they are misguided, it behooves us all to seek four new board candidates who are in tune with our views.

    • Brenda Steele on September 11, 2020 at 6:53 am

      Thank you, Yvonne, for this thoughtful and clearly-stated commentary on this crucial issue.

      Two incidents from the past come to mind. First. Some years ago a Survey, which cost $60,000, was conducted in which residents prioritized what issues they believed to be important for the future of Oakmont. Pickleball was at the bottom of the list, with a less than 1% vote. That small number of residents pushed for Pickleball to be moved up to the top. It was like a freight train rolling and roaring down the track toward this becoming a reality. The majority of the community rose up in protest. The Pickleball group let it be known that they wanted what they wanted and they wanted it NOW. They wanted a stadium to be built next to the Berger Center with the vision that groups from outside of Oakmont would come to play in tournaments. The estimated cost was $400,000. To heck with the cost of that. To heck with where all the players would park, especially when tournaments were being played while concerts were going on in the Berger and various activities were occurring in the CAC (classes, gym, card playing). This community was sent in to a time of angst and uproar. Residents asked what happened to the results of the Survey. The tail was wagging the dog. This issue was reported in the PD and talked about wherever many of us went. Finally, the train was stopped.

      Second. Patricia Arnold, during her “Reign of Terror” as OVA Manager, had her own visions. She put together her own “kitchen cabinet” to run Oakmont. (I know this is what she called it and what her intent was because she asked me to join it. When I responded that I would not do so because the BOD was in charge and that she was an employee, she said, “No, MY kitchen cabinet will run Oakmont.” She did form her kitchen cabinet made up of a BOD member and those who felt honored to be part of her group which helped her to push her visions.) Patricia’s visions were many, some small and some grandiose. One of her plans was to create a plaza like the plazas in Spain, complete with a large fountain, in the area at the front doors of the Berger Center. She commissioned a landscape architect to draw up a plan. The plan required that extensive irrigation work be done in the plaza area which would support the fountain and the large trees which were to be planted. Voices rose up in protest and a Town Hall meeting was held at which time it was made clear that residents were not going to put up with her vision. While the fountain and trees did not become a reality, the irrigation system was installed so when “her” fountain could become a reality, the plumbing would be there. She wanted to have raised planting beds in the Greensward area where residents could plant and tend to their own flowers and vegetables. She wanted to lower the ceiling in the Berger in order to create a second floor so meeting rooms could be added in spite of the fact that the number of existing meeting rooms filled the bill just fine. Patricia’s “kitchen cabinet” and the few who jumped on her train caused a lot of disruption and angst in this community. If her plans had been fulfilled, the cost to residents would have been astronomical.

      In summation, the present BOD cannot be allowed to push forward with their skewed vision for all the reasons you state so well, Yvonne.

      • Yvonne Frauenfelder on September 11, 2020 at 9:33 am

        Thank you Brenda!

        Your excellent recollections of Oakmont’s sometimes tumultuous past is a welcome reminder that a single person, interest groups, or the duly elected board can and will at times proceed in error and not in the best interest of the entire village.

        For these reasons vigilance on the part of the whole community is a necessity. While HOA are not pure democracies, we have the opportunity to voice our opinions forcefully, and to take advantage of our voting rights to elect directors who will cast their considered votes only after having carefully taken the pulse of the community.

      • Patricia Violetti on September 11, 2020 at 2:09 pm

        Thank You Brenda .

  2. Patricia Violetti on September 10, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    Perfect plan YVONNE and one we can afford.

  3. Steve Edwards on September 11, 2020 at 5:58 am

    Yvonne, Very well stated.

  4. Rick Feibusch on September 11, 2020 at 6:23 am

    The OVA, originally intended to administrate and maintain the common grounds and amenities like the pools, tennis, and now pickle ball courts, gym, and meeting halls/rec centers, by a sleight of hand community vote, based upon unffullfilled promises rather than reality, has essentially turned our little retirement village into a 2 golf course country club with 2 restaurants and an embedded golf club, all bailed out (multi-million dollar payoff of golf club bankruptcy debt) and financed by the complete community.

    We now have a mess, the business manager quit, the promised golf management walked with no cost penalty (and unsettled financial issues ~ they were given money that has not been properly accounted for as of yet) for leaving the community in a lurch. And now, because of the pandemic, the restaurants and “event venue” that were expected to help finance the rehabilitation and maintenance of the golf courses will not even be able support themselves. In the mean time, the BoD has let existing facilities deteriorate (expecting to build new, why waste money on things we wish to replace???), yet continue to plan for their outdated visions and dictatorial plans to upgrade the community to attract a “better heeled” resident in the future. The plans apparently also include maintaining two golf courses (open to the public) paid for the present residents, yet less than 20% play golf.

    What is wrong with this picture??? Crooks, opportunists, incompetence, or just people believing their own BS. In any case, it is going to cost the residents plenty, plenty to the point that they are developing a program to assist residents of lesser means, to pay the costs that they are fully aware are going to rise to finance their champagne wishes and caviar dreams…

  5. Shirley Marelli on September 11, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    I have lived ijn Oakmont for almost 33 years. My husband, Dick, was President of the OVA at one time. The boards ran our community wisely and considered the means of the residents. If I wasn’t at such an advanced age, I would move. The people on the Board, mainly Steve Spanier, are thinking of themselves. Does anyone else come to mind?

  6. Brenda Steele on September 12, 2020 at 5:25 am

    I encourage all who have responded to Yvonne’s posting to send the same or a similar message to the BOD at this address: I have done so, giving my thoughts which are essentially the same as those I posted here. Steve Spanier said during the Town Hall that notice would go out to residents via the usual ways – ON, on the eBlast and on another OVA website which is sometimes used. He went on to say that the notice would not be posted on other venues. I took that to mean ND and The Oakmont Observer. He has often said that he does not read these two sites. Hmmm. This reminds me that there is also the opportunity to write LTE’s to the ON and the Kenwood Press.

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