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Derek Miller, Dophie Post, and former Tennis Club President Dave Van Den Berg last year.  The club recently sent out a survey to its members over a proposed Covenant Club being added to the Tennis Club property. File photo by Christina Macone-Greene
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RSF Tennis Club survey gets feedback on proposed Covenant Club

RANCHO SANTA FE — A recent independent survey sent to RSF Tennis Club members was done in an effort to determine if members were in agreement to the proposed Covenant Club location: the Tennis Club and Golf Club campus.

Despite the intent, it has faced criticism from some.

According to Dave Van Den Berg, former president of the Tennis Club, the impetus of The Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club’s Covenant Club Survey was sent after receiving a recent presentation of the conceptual site options.

“Most of the Covenant Club designs had a very major impact on the Tennis Club, either taking out courts or over the footprint of the Tennis Club. As a result, we went to our membership to find out how they felt because it was an important thing to get this feedback,” Van Den Berg said.

The survey creation, he said, was Tennis Club board approved.

“The survey shows that 80 percent of our membership does not want our footprint used for the development of the Covenant Club,” he said.

Tennis Club Board President Barbara McClanahan said that she felt very confident that the Board was representing the majority of its membership due to the results of the survey.

Conversely, fellow Tennis Club Board member Scott DeGoler had another opinion regarding the survey.

“While close to 50 percent of tennis respondents said they favored the concept of adding a health club, I was disappointed with the way some of the other survey questions were worded,” he said.

“For instance, the survey noted the health club could be built ‘over the current footprint of tennis club’ resulting in the ‘destruction, replacement and relocation’ of up to six courts,” he said. “Obviously, most tennis members were not in favor of ‘destruction’ of their courts but perhaps didn’t understand that they would always have 12 courts and the ‘footprint’ impact may be minimal. As a Tennis Board member, I would have like to have seen and had input to the survey so that it was not misleading. However, I was not permitted to review it prior to distribution.”

Van Den Berg said he is well aware of those who are questioning the survey.

“The process we used in the survey is the exact same process being used by the Design Committee,” he said. “We set up a survey committee. The Board approved the survey and distributed it. So, I guess it depends on whether you like the answers or not or whether you agreed with the process.”

McClanahan admits she initially voted for the Covenant Club feasibility study.

“But at that time I was envisioning a smaller workout facility and a pool,” she said, adding she was not expecting a 15,000 to 17,000 square foot resort.

McClanahan pointed out that most of the designs have a pool very close to the Tennis Club.

She added that this noise factor does not fare well within the tennis culture.

According to Van Den Berg, the Covenant Club is proposing a couple of pools, a café, child care area and yoga pavilion.

“The Covenant Club Committee (which is made up of three subcommittees) has members from all stakeholder groups within the community. The Design Subcommittee has a Tennis Club Board member as our tennis liaison as well as several tennis club members,” said Jerry Yahr, Association Board Member and Chair of the Design Subcommittee.”

He continued, “With regard to the planning process, we are considering a number of site plan alternatives, including some that do not impact or touch the current Tennis Club building. While we understand the Tennis Club is very concerned about the impact of the proposed Covenant Club on the Tennis Club we have explained that if a plan was recommended that integrated the Tennis Club building, the costs to upgrade the tennis facility would be the responsibility of the Covenant Club not the tennis club members.”

Van Den Berg said he hopes the Design Committee understands and respects how major construction from the conceptual options presented to them could negatively affect their sought after tennis programs, impact the pros that work there, and perhaps adversely influence the membership numbers they worked so hard to increase.

“As it relates to the process of approving the Covenant Club, all residents of the Covenant will have an opportunity to vote on the Covenant Club,” said Heather Slosar, Association Board member and chair of the Covenant Club Executive Committee.

“This process was developed to take into consideration the input from all property owners, not just the 10 percent of residents who are Tennis Club members or the 25 percent of residents who are Golf Club members,” she added.