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CommunityCommunityNewsRancho Santa Fe

Association holds health club town hall meeting

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe Association championed a town hall meeting at the Garden Club on April 16 with both a session in the morning, and then again later that same afternoon.

For the morning session, Association Manager Bill Overton and board member Heather Slosar were on hand. The Town Hall meeting was for members to hear the latest developments for a potential health club in the Ranch while initiating discussion.

Overton started the meeting by saying they were in the planning evaluation phase. Next up, after all members have the information they need, another community vote will ensue.

Overton then addressed that he had received letters citing concerns that this was not a true feasibility study since it appeared to be managed internally.

Overton said that was not the case.

“We’ve got a great cross-section of volunteers,” he said, noting liaisons from the golf and tennis clubs.

While staffing the feasibility process with volunteers was noted, he said, he didn’t think that was a bad thing and believed it could be done objectively.

Overton said he has received other several letters conveying it was irresponsible to build a pool during the drought.

“I personally don’t know if that’s true or not,” he said. “I’ve seen articles recently that pools waste far less water than turf and that people still need to have recreational opportunities. I think those things should be taken into account throughout the process.”

While water conservation is required, Overton said, they wanted to let the feasibility process run its course for the existing votes.

“I don’t think everybody necessarily agrees with that, but clearly water conservation is going to have to be a part of what we review for this process,” he said.

Overton told the crowd there were going to be more opportunities on an ongoing basis for members to provide additional input.

The executive committee for the health club task force includes Heather Slosar, chair and Association board member; Ann Boon, Association president; Jerry Yahr, Association board member; and Mike Licosati, Association member.

Branched from the executive committee are subcommittees in the areas of design, membership and marketing, and finance.

There are roughly 30 volunteers taking part in these subcommittees and task forces.

Slosar wanted to continue the transparency in the process. She said the goal is to build a strong, vibrant community.

“It will be our plan that we build together,” she said.

Slosar took center stage and highlighted how the idea of a health club and fitness center started with a survey in 2013. Roughly half of the members were interested in it and the community approved a $350,000 budget.

From there, a board was formed and Slosar became chair along with volunteers, researching potential locations and options.

“We held many open meetings including three town halls that were attended by approximately 250 members,” she said.

From the results of the votes received, now they are in the feasibility phase.

“As part of the phase, we need to figure out what amenities would be included in this facility,” she said. “We need to be able to tell the architect what we’d like him or her to design so that’s why we conducted a survey and held focus groups.”

Examples of these amenities include cardio machines, free weights, lap pool, locker rooms and more.

Overton pointed out that throughout 2015 and into the early part of 2016, the feasibility phase will include a programming and site analysis, site planning, architecture and design, cost estimating, financial modeling and plan preparation, marketing and membership plan preparation, complete feasibility analysis, board review and approval, and community presentation.

And lastly, a community vote for an implementation phase.

“Going back to the historical surveys, what we’ve got to do is balance the desire for this,” said Overton, noting that this would encompass members in favor and others who have expressed concerns.