Golf Club of SC in foreclosure

Crickentree residents fear plan to replace entire golf course with 450 homes

Crickentree residents heard E-Capitol’s presentation on Monday. | Barbara Ball

BLYTHEWOOD – After years of struggling financially, the Golf Club of South Carolina closed last week. The Club is entered off Langford Road and much of the golf course borders the Crickentree subdivision, which is accessed off Kelly Mill Road. One side of the golf course is the back yard to many of the 145 expensive, uniquely-designed Crickentree homes that boast large lots, some up to two acres in size.

A Texas investment company, E-Capitol, which holds the note and mortgage on the golf course property, initiated foreclosure proceedings on the course in March. Once the foreclosure is complete, E-Capital expects to purchase the course and build about 450 homes on it.

450 homes could replace Crickentree Golf Course.

This is not sitting well with the 75 or so Crickentree residents who showed up at the Hilton Garden Inn on Farrow Road Monday night to hear E-Capitol’s attorney Jake Barker, with Gaybill, Lansche and Vinzanti, explain his client’s plans for the golf course

property if they, indeed, become the purchasers.

“Once my client owns the property, they will pivot from the foreclosure process to the development process,” Barker said. “They will sell the property to a developer who will then develop it.”

But Barker was careful to explain that the golf course will be developed as residential property, not a golf course. To make that transition would require a rezoning from the current TROS (Traditional Recreational Open Space) zoning classification to a residential zoning classification.

That rezoning is where the residents feel they have a foothold to stop the development of hundreds of homes on small lots in their backyards.

The TROS zoning classification dates back to 2007 when the planning commission added a zoning classification to the Richland County land use plan to protect golf course communities throughout Richland County from becoming the victims of rampant residential development.

The question is, now, will county council vote to change the zoning to protect E-Capitol’s investment and satisfy the developer or keep the current zoning in place to protect the Crickentree property owners’ investments and quality of life they say they moved there for.

“Before the rezoning process begins,” Barker told the homeowners gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn, “we want to get feedback from the Crickentree neighborhood as to what you would like to see. The golf course was not meeting its obligations and could not continue on,” Barker said. “I understand none of this is ideal for you, but we want to have a discussion with you. We want to work with you.” Barker said.

The course, outlined in black, is partially bordered by Crickentree subdivision.

While the anxious crowd of homeowners vowed to fight any rezoning effort that would result in smaller lots and a crowding of hundreds of homes onto the golf course, as the hour-long meeting continued, Barker suggested the possibility of building fewer homes on larger lots with a buffer as wide as 100 feet separating the golf course homes from the current homes.

“That’s all possible,” Barker said. “These drawings are our initial, conceptual plans to develop it. We want feedback. We want to hear from you,” Barker insisted.

Asked about the pricing and size of the homes that would be built on the golf course, an engineer representing E-Capitol’s interest said he didn’t know. He said that would be determined by the eventual developer.

Barker said there is no timetable for the actual foreclosure and purchase of the golf course, but that it would take place in Richland County circuit court, and had been referred to Judge Strickland, the master of equity for Richland County.

“Once the foreclosure process is finished,” Barker said, “the property will be sold at auction, and any third parties can come and bid at that sale.”