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White Horse Golf Course is in foreclosure
KINGSTON — Just a couple years after its opening in spring 2007, the White Horse Golf Course development located near Kingston is in foreclosure. As of March 23, the amount in default on the note is approximately $5.7 million, according to the notice of trustee's sale filed with Kitsap County's Auditors office, March 24.
White Horse owner and developer Bob Screen didn't return calls as of presstime.
The history of White Horse is traced back some 21 years, when Screen wanted to find a place for his daughter's horse to pasture, according to an April 2007 Seattle Times article. He found what he was looking for and the quest for a simple pasture evolved into an 18-hole public golf course and residential development with capacity for more than 200 houses.
Screen broke ground in 2003.
Residents weren't shocked to learn of the foreclosure.
"No it's not a surprise," said John Xenos, who moved into his White Horse home in December 2006. "If you go out to White Horse and see 10 cars in the parking lot for a golf establishment of that size, you figure they're not doing too well."
Phase one, the first phase of residential development, has 65 lots.
Today about 40 homes have been built or are in construction, said Mark Hanna. Hanna and his wife were the first residents to move to White Horse.
Builder and owner Larry Ward took issue with the lack of signage and said Screen wasn't willing to pay a nominal amount for proper signing and marketing.
"That's pretty much endemic of how the whole thing has been run," Ward said. "Without them doing good marketing there's no hope for people trying to market their homes."
Also included in Screen's grand vision were a club house, pool, tennis courts and an equestrian area for the residents. The property goes to foreclosure without any of the promised amenities, several homeowners say.
While they may not have gotten the deal they signed up for, some take it in stride and some maintain Screen never mislead anyone. Several others say Screen's possible sale of the property would be a positive thing for the golf course and residential owners.
"He's created something beautiful out there, but it just wasn't pushed well. I talk to people on Bainbridge Island and they don't even know there is a golf course," said Meisha Rouser who has owned in White Horse for more than two years. "We need someone to market it and take it to the next stage. We need more life out there, and golfers, so the value is more appreciated. As far as home owners go, it would be fabulous."
Of personal interest to all the owners was the status of the Home Owners Association (HOA) account, as owners pay $95 each month to the HOA.
The HOA account is in "great shape and has been managed very well," Hanna said.
"I reviewed the accounting system records listing all transaction activity for 2008 and 2009 to date. I suppose that would constitute Bob’s word on it, along with his administrator Debbie who keeps the books for him," Hanna wrote in an e-mail. "I have no reason to doubt the integrity of either of them."
Some say Screen never shared actual "bank statements" on the HOA account, which is required by law under RCW 64.38, however, Hanna said Screen would provide any additional specific documentation desired, all the owners have to do is ask.
If an offer Screen is willing to accept isn't made the property will go on the auction block Aug. 14 at 10:30 a.m.
According to e-mails between homeowners, Port Madison Enterprises, the economic development arm of the Suquamish tribe, made an offer on the course, but Screen turned it down.
"We're aware that it's for sale," said PME Media Coordinator April Leigh.
Regardless how it all shakes out in the next few months several home owners speak praises of what it's like living at White Horse: the sounds of coyotes resonate at night, the views are spectacular, the neighbors are friendly and have holiday gatherings and barbecues.
"Once the economy picks back up it will still be a good long-term investment," Xenos said. "If and when it becomes a destination resort out there it will look really good and in the long run it will all work out for us out there."