The Future of Bay Point

The Future of Bay Point

By | 2021-01-11T09:57:22-05:00 Monday, January 11, 2021 at 9:57 AM|News|

The Future of Bay Point

By: Carl Selph & Ron Dubin

By now everyone is getting Project Torchlight Fatigue, especially those of us who have worked on making the deal for the golf course property with Torchlight (the current owner) a reality. Over the past twelve months we have been through more than 40 iterations of the Purchase and Sale Agreement.

Much has been communicated to Bay Point owners about the proposed purchase of the golf course properties. Unfortunately, most of the communications to the owners by the various groups and individuals has been misinformation – either intentional or because of misunderstanding.

This short writing will differentiate the misinformation from the true facts.

What are the consequences if the community votes NO:

  1. According to expert appraisers and empirical evidence from similar communities, the value of all Bay Point properties will suffer a loss in value of between 5 and 20 percent overtime. This loss in value applies to all properties, whether golf course, canal, lagoon, homes or condos.
  2. Most likely, Torchlight will return to the county commission to seek a development order, as they proposed previously, to build approximately 325 housing units on the Meadows property. If the community rejects the purchase and assessment, the county commission will most likely grant Torchlight’s request.
  3. Another very likely possibility, Torchlight will work with or sell the property to another private developer that will not care about Bay Point’s best interests. Their only interest will be how much money they can make from building and selling substandard housing units.
  4. Most likely, the new development will destroy the gated community aspect of Bay Point; thus, security of our community will be a real issue.
  5. The community will not have another opportunity to purchase this real estate. This is a one-time offer. All of this talk about make a better deal is false information; we will not get another chance.
  6. Magnolia Beach Road and Delwood Road, already congested, will become even more congested.
  7. The new housing units are not required to be members of BPCA; accordingly, more traffic and use of the BPCA infrastructure without the new units paying dues.
  8. Until development is completed, the Meadows property will be left to grow out-of-control and become home to more coyotes, bears, foxes, and other undesirable wildlife.
  9. The Meadows property will resemble the former Hombre golf course on Back Beach Rd.
  10. Bay Point will become nothing more than a run-of-the-mill subdivision.

What are the consequences of the community voting YES:

  1. The Meadows property will be cleaned-up from property line to property line. Owners will no longer have to worry about coyotes or bears in their back yard. Their backyard will once again be a scenic place to enjoy from their patio.
  2. The Nicklaus golf course will be placed under new management with new aggressive marketing programs and incentives to enhance revenue and profits of the course.
  3. All Bay Point property values will stabilize and increase over time.
  4. Bay Point property owners will control the future development of the golf course properties. This means nothing will occur on the property without the owners’ consent. Only with the consent of the Bay Point property owners will the Meadows golf course be re-opened, will additional amenities be constructed, etc.
  5. The Meadows golf course will not be considered for reopening until the Nicklaus golf course is operating at full capacity.
  6. The only expenditures of your assessment that are “engraved in stone” are: purchasing and operating the Nicklaus golf course and cleaning-up the Meadows property to the satisfaction of Bay Point owners. Any additional expenditures, are subject to Bay Point property owners’ approval.
  7. Assessments not spent will be refunded to owners or used to pay-off the debt sooner.
  8. The future of Bay Point will be yours.

We encourage you to take advantage of this one-time opportunity and VOTE YES for Bay Point’s future. The price of $840 per year for 10 years is a very small price to pay to secure the value and future of your homestead and community.

If you have already submitted your Proxy/Ballot and wish to change your vote, it is not too late. You can retrieve your Proxy/Ballot. Call the BPCA office (850-234-2727) for more information.

21 Comments

  1. Where is the status since we had the vote to purchase these properties? Not a peep on this site

    • The vote was in the negative. No assessment was approved.

  2. I suspect that the County Commission would vote with 1500 plus residents over Torchlight .

  3. Although I am strongly in favor of a buy/ sell agreement to acquire the golf courses, there is a lack of transparency to those voting. In the end, I think there will be people voting for or against this that will come to the revelation after more is revealed that they voted incorrectly. I have read many of the things Bill Spann has posted and have found them to be well thought out. I also found them to be delivered in a tone that is not threatening or thwarting a sense of panic. The post on this site titled “The Future of Bay Point”, is written to create a level of fear in the decision process, v. an informed decision. I think this is misguided and is a tell that the proposal presented warrants more time and thought.

    One example is that there are some inequities in the assessment costs. For example, an owner of a one-bedroom condo appears to have the exact cost impact of a homeowner that has a value of $2,000,000+. Similarly, we have permanent residents, while others are vacation properties. In most assessment situations, the assessment is determined by the square footage, classification (home, or one-, two- or three-bedroom condo), or the value of the property. I think the assessment costs per parcel should be revised to better meet the square footage of the property and deliver a more equitable cost to each owner.

    Finally, golf communities across Florida that have thriving values and growth, require some level of membership and dues by all property owners with the local country club/ golf course. The monthly dues guarantee positive cash flow for these assets and also encourage members to make use of these facilities routinely to gain full value of their investment. And, of course, there are different levels of membership. This revenue is needed to budget and plan the business of golf / club facilities. If property owners had access to a community pool, paddle/ tennis courts, restaurant, and other amenities, as well as golf while only paying cart fees, in time, if not immediately, they would see the value of their investment.

    I sincerely hope a buy/ sell agreement is executed, but at this moment question why this has been brought to a vote when more work is to be done and much more transparency should be provided.

  4. If this is truly a one time opportunity wouldn’t we better off to have control of the property and then sell at a 50% loss than not have it at all and not be able to put conditions on the next sale if needed. We are looking at Torchlight that has buyers wanting this property. They are in a strong position. We have to give up something to maintain Baypoint. Either way, Bay Point needs a golf course and no one is going to continue to be satisfied to make a small profit or just break even than the homeowners who use the course. I suggest that we do not let this property go. We have been spoiled with low fees and HOA’s at Baypoint. Look at any quality property in the state that has the potential that BP has and you will see that you have to be willing to support a quality development. In this case a small increase in support. It looks like this is not the optimum deal, but the possible alternatives is not acceptable.

    • Thank you for your comment.

    • For comparison, The Preserve dues are $96/month, Sweet Bay dues are only $99/month, they have a beautiful pool, numerous parks, common areas, sidewalks and street lights. The notion
      we have been spoiled with low dues is simply misguided. If this special assessment passes our dues+assessment will be will be some of the highest on the beach.

  5. So where are the “True Facts”? All this is see is opinions!

    Here are some facts!

    Should the assessment pass as structured currently. We will be entering into covenants with the Torchlight (Hotel) to continually operate the Nicklaus course to their expectations indefinitely. Should the course be nonprofitable for any reason. We will be financially responsible! These covenants also allow Torchlight to require us to reinvest unlimited dollars if they deem nessacary. So the financial implications are far more than they appear on the surface.

    Home owners will not have direct control of the operations and budget of the “New Club”. The self appointed board of the “New Club” has control of this.
    Why is this board not voted on by the owners? Allowing owner involvement.

    Many people have been lead to believe the Meadows will be a golf course again. While others are lead to believe the will become green space and nature trails. Some believe they will have new amenities to enjoy in the future. Along with others lead to believe that these may or may not happen. So this will only cause more conflict and division in our community in the future. Which could be avoided had this deal been developed the open with the involvement of many home owners. Opposed to being created in a vacuum of with only a few.

    While many very important questions have been asked of the board about this deal, The Board has been defensive and unresponsive to many of these questions. Is this the way important decisions should be handled by our BOD?

    This along with many other reasons already stated by others. I will be voting No for this assessment and encourage everyone else to do so. While looking forward to the entire community working together to purchase the Meadows. Controlling the property ourselves and not being encumbered by outside entities!

  6. TRUST US!!! We will spend your money wisely! You won’t get to see the financials, only the President of BPCA and his finance committee. What a great deal for the Bay Point property owners(haha). Open wallet and allow others to extract your money. NO THANK YOU!!!

  7. Most of the terrible things that Carl and Ron have presented in their post could happen. The County Commission could approve development authority for multifamily homes on the Meadows course. Torchlight could sell the Meadows to a landbank investor. Our pets can be attacked by wild animals. Delwood Beach road could become a parking lot. Torpedo grass could become Bay Point’s official flower and the mole cricket our offical community pet. All of those things could happen.

    But to make a $13 million investment in the belief that all of these things can be instantly and easily avoided; well that takes a leap of faith. More dispassionately, it is reasonable to conclude that Bay Point property values will be impacted if the future of the Meadows is uncertain. The drastic drop in values projected in a professional evaluation prepared for the BPCA projected that values would fall sharply if the Torchlight development plan was implemented. (Have you received your copy of that report?) The same report, which included interviews with some of Bay County’s leading real estate brokers, also found that property values would not sharply decline if the Meadows was set aside for conversation or limited amenities. In short, bad development will have bad results. There are alternatives. As to a “yes” vote banishing bears, foxes and coyotes – well if that’s worth $13 million then there are lots of folks who should reconsdier how they vote.

    In their post, Carl and Ron purpose that the community owned Nicklaus course will be better managed. In fact, the BPCA has already made arrangements for hiring a noted professional golf management company. Unfortunately, the BPCA has misinformed the community about that company’s current credentials and failed to correct the misleading information they circulated. I’m confiedent that oversight was more symtomatic than intentional. The greater failure has been to present a plan for a 13 million assessment without revealing how the plan will be paid for without direct subsidies for negative cashflow from golf and amenity operations. Swimming pools, walking trails, member clubhouses, tennis, basketball, and pickleball courts do not pay for themselves and the Meadows won’t cut its own grass.

    To the everlasting credit of the BPCA directors they bravely addressed the problem at hand – the Meadows. Unfortunately, in addressing a problem, they have created and even greater problem: accepting at face value a plan that really isn’t a plan while asking for the approval of the community to proceed anyway. The problem of the Meadows needs specific resolution. Additional amenities that add to our life-style are a good thing. But all of the good intentions will come to naught unless the community understands what is being asked and willing to make the sacrifices required.

    I want the best for Bay Point. I appreciate the support I received from BPCA officers during the Torchlight negotiations. But for good and substantial reasons I am no longer convinced that the Bay Point community can own a for-profit business and manage it according to the needs of the market. We simply do not have sufficient residential population to support a golf course or the proposed amenities without significant and ongoing subsidies. The Nicklaus course in particular, will survive only if it responds to market conditions and puts business first. If there is a lesson to be leaded for the current controversy it is: if Bay Point homeowners own the golf courses Bay Point homeowners will want to manage the golf courses. There is no upside to that eventuality. You ignore the market to your own peril.

    On the foot of 39 years of an intimate relationship with this thing we call Bay Point, I have regrettably voted “NO.” I cannot propose to my neighbors and friends that they support an ill-presented plan that lacks disclosure, contains misleading information, makes exaggerated claims and dismisses those who harbor a contrary view. Pass or fail, the Meadows is still there. If Bay Point votes “YES”, the current plan will need to be revisted and expectations recalibrated. It cannot be proformed as presented. If the community votes “NO” the Meadows doesn’t sprout wings and fly away. Either way, there will be a next step. Hopefully it will be to come together and develop a plan worthy of discussion and capable of winning wide support .

  8. I read through the article posted by Mr.Selph in the hope of discovering some “true facts.” All I read was more CONJECTURE, not facts. Why has the Board made is so difficult to find the facts? It would take a real sleuth to even find the relevant articles on the Bay Point website. I concur with the comment posted on Dec 26, 2020 by Mr. Bill Spann who stated, “My experience in having worked on this project and having managed Bay Point’s development for over 20 years leads me to believe that the approval of the special assessment, as currently presented, will send this community on a fool’s errand. Bay Point was justified in opposing the redevelopment plan presented by Torchlight. A solution was and continues to be required that adds to the value of our homes and expands life-style opportunities. This plan, if it be a plan, is not that solution.”

    • I respectfully disagree with your conclusion and suggest you look into your quoted person’s motives.

  9. Unfortunately this Board and its repeated inability to actually communicate with the people that they represent is glaringly present. We asked for clarity and this board cannot deliver that so, we will give you clarity and vote NO!

  10. My biggest concern is the oversight of funds that would be earmarked for the amenities package. Would you please expand on your point 6 above (“The only expenditures of your assessment that are “engraved in stone” are: purchasing and operating the Nicklaus golf course and cleaning-up the Meadows property to the satisfaction of Bay Point owners. Any additional expenditures, are subject to Bay Point property owners’ approval.”) Specifically, what is the control mechanism for the use of these funds? Will they be subject to an approved business plan?

    In addition, if Nicklaus operations and Meadows cleanup are the only “engraved in stone” costs, then why did the Board request an assessment that is almost three times that required amount? In my opinion, the community seems to be in favor of supporting the land purchase but feels that we have rushed into a full-blown amenities development plan. Can we not separate into Tranche A and Tranche B assessments?

    • The immediate priorities and budgeted items are: Purchasing the properties, cleaning-up the Meadows from property line to property line, and operating the Nicklaus course to achieve a profit or break-even in year 2021. Additional expenditures, such as for amenities, will have to be budgeted in the BPCA budget by the BPCA board. The additional funds in the Special Assessment are to fund any amenities desired and supported by the community. The owners’ survey that was conducted a few months ago indicated a majority of the owners favored one or more of the amenities in the survey. However let me assure you that additional amenities will not be built without clear and specific known bids/costs or without being favored and supported by a majority of Bay Point owners. In my opinion, only then will the BPCA board consider those items for budget approval. If those funds are not allocated or spent they can be used to payoff the loan quicker or the BPCA board could refund any excess monies. Thank you for your comments.

      • Very well said.

  11. I am going to support the PSA for the very simple reason that should it not pass, Torchlight can and probably will try to cancel the Covenants BP has with them and sell it to a Developer for much more then what we can purchase it today. Although the assessments for this purchase are high I believe that we will not need anything more then the property and fixing up the Meadows green space which is maybe 6 million and not the 13.5 million which is being voted on Jan 16. Is this deal perfect- it is not! Would I have tried to negotiate for a better deal then what is proposed – absolutely! But the deal is here – right now for us to vote on. This very well might be the last time we can have this option. Some are concerned about .If we sell the property within 8 years then a percentage of the sales will go back to Torchlight. But after 8 years were free to do whatever we want with no paybacks. .

    Lastly – if your not happy with the members of the board then vote them out. Diminish the special assessments. That option will always be available. Lets just get the land now while the offer is there.,Though not ideal in many ways, is the best we can get. Otherwise we might just be looking at other special assessments for expensive attorney fees fighting DR Horton or other developers.

  12. 1. According to expert appraisers and empirical evidence from similar communities, the value of all Bay Point properties will suffer a loss in value of between 5 and 20 percent overtime. This loss in value applies to all properties, whether golf course, canal, lagoon, homes or condos.

    *This is false/misleading information. Mr. Chandler (appraiser) said property values COULD drop and his study was based on high density multi family units being built on the Meadows.

    2. Most likely, Torchlight will return to the county commission to seek a development order, as they proposed previously, to build approximately 325 housing units on the Meadows property. If the community rejects the purchase and assessment, the county commission will most likely grant Torchlight’s request.

    *Complete guesses here. It’s also likely when we explain our side, that we were not approached to purchase the land only, but also a BUSINESS, with all the contractual obligations to continue to operate it for Torchlight, the County Commission won’t rezone the land.

    3. Another very likely possibility, Torchlight will work with or sell the property to another private developer that will not care about Bay Point’s best interests. Their only interest will be how much money they can make from building and selling substandard housing units.

    *Substandard housing units is a completely made up assumption. Again, if Torchlight thought they could develop the land or sell the land to someone who could, they would. They aren’t trying to sell it to us because they’re nice.

    4. Most likely, the new development will destroy the gated community aspect of Bay Point; thus, security of our community will be a real issue.

    *We are not truly gated as it is. IF this is even a possibility, this will be a long way down the road and would most likely need BP approval/blessing to move forward.

    5. The community will not have another opportunity to purchase this real estate. This is a one-time offer. All of this talk about make a better deal is false information; we will not get another chance.

    *NO ONE knows what tomorrow brings and to write this as a fact is a lie.

    6. Magnolia Beach Road and Delwood Road, already congested, will become even more congested.

    *IF this happens, they may need to four lane Magnolia.

    7. The new housing units are not required to be members of BPCA; accordingly, more traffic and use of the BPCA infrastructure without the new units paying dues.

    *This is only IF they are permitted to build housing units inside the gates of BP. Another complete guess. There is also the possibility we could make a deal to allow them to develop certain areas and then turn them over to BPCA for dues, architectural reviews etc.

    8. Until development is completed, the Meadows property will be left to grow out-of-control and become home to more coyotes, bears, foxes, and other undesirable wildlife.

    *First I have heard Torchlight will stop mowing if we don’t buy the course. Probably another lie.

    9. The Meadows property will resemble the former Hombre golf course on Back Beach Rd.

    *To compare a residential area to a property on a 4 lane highway with a 55mph speed limit is comparing apples and oranges.

    10. Bay Point will become nothing more than a run-of-the-mill subdivision.

    *A guess/scare tactic.

    What are the consequences of the community voting YES:

    1. The Meadows property will be cleaned-up from property line to property line. Owners will no longer have to worry about coyotes or bears in their back yard. Their backyard will once again be a scenic place to enjoy from their patio.

    *This is a complete lie. There have been coyotes and bears here since the beginning of time.

    2. The Nicklaus golf course will be placed under new management with new aggressive marketing programs and incentives to enhance revenue and profits of the course.

    *Costing us $10,000 month just for Bobby Jones Links.

    3. All Bay Point property values will stabilize and increase over time.

    *Another guess/lie. MANY factors go into property values. No one can say with 100% certainty property values will increase with this $8,400 assessment.

    4. Bay Point property owners will control the future development of the golf course properties. This means nothing will occur on the property without the owners’ consent. Only with the consent of the Bay Point property owners will the Meadows golf course be re-opened, will additional amenities be constructed, etc.

    *This has been touted by a board member time and time again. Just because homeowners vote for the board members does NOT give us control of anything. Perfect examples are the speed bump and post office debacles. However, there is some truth here. Most likely, there will be additional funds needed to reopen the Meadows and build the amenities. At which time, another vote/assessment will be needed.

    5. The Meadows golf course will not be considered for reopening until the Nicklaus golf course is operating at full capacity.

    6. The only expenditures of your assessment that are “engraved in stone” are: purchasing and operating the Nicklaus golf course and cleaning-up the Meadows property to the satisfaction of Bay Point owners. Any additional expenditures, are subject to Bay Point property owners’ approval.

    *Again, reopening of the Meadows and building amenities are not part of this assessment. Contract to buy land is $4.4 million. Asking for over $13million. DOES NOT INCLUDE REOPENING THE MEADOWS OR AMENITIES.

    7. Assessments not spent will be refunded to owners or used to pay-off the debt sooner.

    *I question this. If we vote and have in writing we all owe $8,400, I have a hard time believing they’ll ever refund anyone’s money. And what happens when the house is sold? Do they refund the seller who moved or the new buyer? Too much ambiguity here.

    8. The future of Bay Point will be yours.

    *See above.

  13. “If you have already submitted your Proxy/Ballot and wish to change your vote, it is not too late. You can retrieve your Proxy/Ballot.” In my opinion, this type of solicitation is inappropriate on the BPCA website. With all due respect, the BPCA Board of Directors is not a parent, and the members of the community of owners in Bay Point are not your children. BPCA has presented the information that they have chosen in multiple forums. Let the owners now make their own decisions.

  14. I have attended almost all noticed BOD meetingings and the board DID NOT provide any information other than to say “We are under a non-disclosure agreement and cannot share any information.” I have been told to leave meetings that were being held (without) notice and told they “did not want to jeopardize what we are trying to do here”. Owners have repeatedly asked questions of the BOD and all we get is silence, or told to “trust us”. The problem is not the concerned business and real estate professionals in the community who oppose THIS deal, the problem is the DEAL itself.

  15. I’ll keep this simple. I’m casting a NO vote for the Special Assessment. The big argument for a Yes vote is for homeowners to control the destiny of the Nicklaus and what was once the Meadows golf course. Are you a Yes vote? Then you need to understand that per the Purchase and Sale agreement (PSA) it is the New Club that will have control, not the Bay Point Homeowners. Read that again, because your vote matters.
    Section 12 (b) (4) of the PSA states that the PLAN AND BUDGET for the property shall be prepared and deemed approved by Bay Point Community Association (Purchaser) as long as there is an approval by a supermajority of the New Club’s Board of Directors for the plan and budget.
    If the Special Assessment passes, then the New Club will ‘control the destiny’ of the golf course properties, not the homeowners.
    To any board member, what exactly do the Bay Point homeowners control, other than servicing all debts which encumber the Property, all improvements made to the property, and all deficits incurred by the operation of the golf courses?
    Comments

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