Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Take a look at what I wasn't allowed to finish at tonight's meeting: Oronoque Village in Stratford started out like Farmington Woods in the early 70's, a golf course surrounded by a condominium community. But they had the good sense to sell their course at the end of the last century, (which I'm not sure Farmington Woods ever left) and are free and clear of the financial obligation that ownership entails. Us? We're still a company town, subsidizing  the company store with restaurant taximums, condo fees and district taxes. And how's that working for ya?

Below are comparisons of expenses and amenities for my Carriage House in Farmington Woods and a unit in Oronoque Village in Stratford called a Melville. I picked this unit because it was the closest I could come to the sales price of my unit. Note: Since the Oronoque unit is 50% larger, town and district taxes would be roughly 50% higher. I did not increase condo fees, however. (Figures in parentheses have been
prorated to reflect this difference.)  http://www.oronoquevillage.com/home.asp

Market Value
$150,000 (asking price)
$144,900 (listed price)
Square footage
Town Taxes
$2,050 (3,075.)+
Yearly District Taxes
$964. (1,446.)+
Yearly Condo Fees
Total Condo Fees/District Taxes
$3,952.  (4,434.)+
Yearly Restaurant Minimum
Free Social Membership*
Total, Including Rest. Min.
$4,312.  (4,794.)+
Bonds Pending
Total of $4M.
Tax Increase from Bonds
Total, Including Bonding
$4,512.  (4,994.)+

Golf Membership, Resident
Golf Membership Non Resident
Club Membership Total
Golf Club or Country Club
Golf Club
Country Club*
Initiation fees
Course Clubhouse
Golf Course Management
Arnold Palmer Golf
Course/Clubhouse Ownership
Owned by FW Residents
        Century Golf Partners

Total Units
Total Acreage
Gated Community
7day, 24 hour Security
On site Management
Swimming Pools
Tennis Courts
5 soft surface
Fitness Center
State of the Art
Garden Plots
Community Buildings
2, includes 1 with indoor driving range & putting green

*Oronoque Country Club         +Prorated for 50% more square footage

Comments? You're welcome to email me at 2chewman@gmail.com.


  1. What I love about this whole thing is that they act like these businesses will be impervious to closing if we approve these budget plans. All this focus on the course closing if we don't do the improvements and not one mention on the fact that NOTHING in this bond stands to draw in more business. More access to a bad restaurant still leaves it a bad restaurant, better irrigation to a failing golf course still leaves it a failing golf course. How about someone mentions the unthinkable... Say we do approve our 20 yr tax sentence, in about 5 years of these businesses still being run poorly (that's over a decade in the red, and inevitable if no one cuts the losses and generates revenue) we have to close them both anyway (pretty sure Loretto will be hiding in Florida for that)... We already have the highest fees/taxes in the entire valley area, but now they are higher, and we have the dreaded "open space" issue... Who will buy or even rent your house now? If that happens we all better thank our lucky stars we still have a " great school system" in this towntown or else our community might end up asn "low income housing".

  2. Amanda,

    In Viet Nam it was said more than once that we had to "destroy a village in order to save it." The board thinks they can save Farmington Woods with these bonds, but ultimately they could end up destroying what they're trying to save.

    The people who spoke up for the bonds, and they were in the minority, think that the golf club is what provides us with community here. If that's the case, it's a pretty small and exclusive one.

    When the majority of a community does not participate in the activity that those who think they can define the very word community as that activity,in this case golf, the minority activity, true community is impossible.

    Wow, did I really say that in one sentence. I had to read it three times before I got it, but it might only take you two.
    Thanks for your insightful comments. It's just too bad the board didn't read their own Focus Group report where people asked them to see this place with "new eyes". You have done that. Thank you.

    1. You called it, I read the sentence twice to get it. I like the play on words to illustrate the bootstrapping going on here though. It's time to define community to those who don't know, and then redefine it for those who won't listen. Home stretch, let's rock the vote.

  3. Amanda,

    I've been writing for 48 straight hours now and I figure I've still got time to correct some pretty bad writing. I think this makes more sense:

    "When the majority of a community doesn't participate in the activity (golf), which the tiny minority that defines community here does, true community is not possible."

    By the way, Desmond Muirfield was big on community. He thought his designs would enhance it, not create dissension in the community he helped construct. He was also not an avid or good golfer and had this to say about the game that provided him a pretty handsome living:"Golf is an invention, not, as some would have it, a divine gift," he wrote in his book St. Andrews: How to Play the Old Course. "While we may celebrate the pleasure it brings us, it's best to remember that we are singing of ourselves when we do so."
    Pretty astute observation wouldn't you say?

  4. I don't live in Farmington Woods, but reading these blogs I have a different perspective. When one walks around the community it is the surroundings (views of the course) which add to the beauty. Community is not exclusively golf, it is tennis, swimming, meetings, club house, snow shoveling, helping neighbors, gardening, dances, blogs, etc. It is how you interact with your neighbors and how respectful you treat each other. I don't have kids yet I pay for schools which is 90% of real estate taxes, do I need to go on. . . Taxes are based on market/assessed value, not sq. ft. Your comparison with similar values is an appropriate comparisons. Everyone has an opinion but that does not make it a fact, nor do you have THE crystal ball on the future. The golf land is owned by the association and thus yourself and probably has some significant value, but will need continue maintenance costs. I would not recommend giving it away.