June 23, 2018
City Council Meeting
Presentation by Vellano HOA President Michael Konrad
Good evening Councilmembers and staff. My name is Mike Konrad. I am the President of the Vellano Homeowners Association and the Chairman of newly formed “Victory for Vellano”, a grass-roots community-based organization of homeowners who are currently being victimized by a predatory developer. A few of us came here tonight.
The Vellano community consists of two separate entities. The Vellano Homeowners Association and the Vellano Golf Club.
When my wife and I were building our home within the Vellano community, we, like any homeowner, were concerned about the long-term stability of the community. The homeowners association had landscape and architectural standards and the power to enforce them. As for the golf course, we were assured by sales staff that the City of Chino Hills had requirements in place that would protect the community based on the required Conditional Use Permit issued to the developer. We had confidence the neighborhood would be well maintained through the combination of the HOA’s CC&R’s and the Conditional Use Permit which contained specific requirements of the golf course property.
Just sixteen months ago, the golf course was purchased by WGP. A few months later, its CEO Bobby Heath and his business partner Michael Schlesinger, informed the Vellano HOA about their plans to build 130 – 250 new homes on golf course property. As the golf course was zoned for recreational use, it would require rezoning by the City Council. Knowing the chances of approval were slim, Heath and Schlesinger blackmailed the residence of Vellano, threatening to close the golf course and put a fence around it until we agreed to pressure the city to allow development, a successful tactic used by the same owners at other golf courses throughout Southern California including Corona, Escondido, Rancho Mirage, and others. Assured by city officials that rezoning and development would be a difficult challenge, and by the knowledge there were requirements in place as part of a Conditional Use Permit, the Vellano homeowners united behind the decision to “say no to new development”.
As threatened, one day after they were informed of the homeowner’s refusal to approve additional development and pressure the city to allow it, WGP shut down the golf course, fired the staff, and, within a few weeks, installed more than two miles of unpermitted illegal chain link fence and chained gates around the golf course.
Our small community of 205 homeowners has come under attack from a predatory developer, willing and able to break the law and flaunt city ordinances and agreements. We have had several meetings with city officials including Mayor Rogers, Vice Mayor Moran, Councilman Marques, City Manager Bartlam, and Assistant City Manager Montgomery. I would like to thank these city officials and other staff for their efforts to date. While I am aware it may take a village, with new council districts, Vellano falls under Councilman Marquez’s district. I would like to thank Councilman Marquez for touring the Vellano community and for his immediate support.
To close, the residents of Vellano would again like to express our gratitude for your support thus far and also thank you in advance for your future efforts to protect our neighborhood and possibly the city from this bully, law breaking developer.