Opinion: The Hostages of Killearn

Opinion: The Hostages of Killearn

By Sharon Mears

Hostage: one that is involuntarily controlled by an outside influence.

There are 3,330 property owners in Killearn Estates currently being held hostage by two property owners. According to public records, these two property owners, Jorge Piekarewicz and J.D. Rayburn, are the named complainants in what has become the saga of Killearn Country Club not being allowed to proceed with the redevelopment and improvement of its infrastructure and facilities. These same two property owners have made it their mission , through the judicial system, to keep all other property owners in Killearn Estates from enjoying the improvement of KCC and potentially the increase in overall property values as a result of new and dynamic facilities.

In the fall of 2014, Barton Tuck, the owner of KCC announced his plan/vision for the future of KCC. This included the removal and rebuilding of the club house, dining facilities, locker rooms, pro shop, golf course irrigation system and more. To do this, Mr. Tuck proposed closing the seldom used “Narrows” or North part of the golf course. The majority of the closed course would be given over to an easement; a much smaller portion of the closed course would be sold and developed into a 55+ residential community.

A small group of people posed an immediate opposition to this plan. Through countless legal maneuverings, they have, under the anonymous name “Preserve Killearn,” posed legal upon legal challenges preventing Mr. Tuck from implementing his plan. In doing so, they have kept every property owner in Killearn Estates from once again being able to point to KCC as the crown jewel of the neighborhood. For over 50 years, KCC has been an attraction to countless home buyers and a positive attribute to those wishing to sell.

It seems grossly unfair that two property owners out of 3,332 and the handful of those who are behind them, have been able, for over 3 years, to keep the vast majority of Killearn Estates property owners hostage with their trivial and petty demand that the North Course be restored. This issue was settled by the courts in a legal ruling over one year ago. The ruling stated that Mr. Tuck was within his rights to close the course.

After all, KCC is a business. As the owner of the business, Mr. Tuck makes decisions that will improve his business and make it not only profitable from a business standpoint but enhance it and make it more attractive for his customers. The peripheral benefit is to ALL residents of Killearn Estates whether they are members of KCC, own golf course lots or are in the far reaches of the subdivision. Everyone in Killearn would benefit from a revitalized Killearn Country Club!

The two plaintiffs in the current lawsuit attempting to block Mr. Tuck do not appear to care about the hostages they have taken in pursuit of their personal vendetta against Mr. Tuck. It is way past time for the hostages to be released and for the hostages to have a voice.

17 Responses to "Opinion: The Hostages of Killearn"

  1. While I hate they closed the North course, it didn’t make any fiscal sense to keep it open based on the statistical data. I don’t know Tuck and I think he should invest more in the club. With that being said, I have a hard time comprehending why the homeowners even have a say in this when it isn’t their physical property. No one promises you things won’t change. It sucks sometimes, but that’s life.

  2. Ok the real story is that Scott Atwell who was part of the “Preserve Killearn” has since sold and moved to Tampa. He had his house in his wifes maiden name so it would not show up under the Atwells or MLS showing the transaction in his name.

    He bought his house in 2012 or 2013 for $425,000 and sold it in June of this year for $500,000. The house is located adjacent to #8 green on the narrows. The old Tallahassee people would know the house as that of Mike Martin our baseball coach who lived there for 15 years+.

    The argument of PK was the property values of home owners on who front the narrows golf course would lose $ on their properties. As you can see not the case.


  3. It’s called the free market, which I know for a fact is a concept a lot of Killearn homeowners support. And guess what, sometimes it doesn’t work in your favor.

  4. This is a tough call. Was here when Killearn Estates was a week end marketing event as lots were first offered for sale. The country club WAS a big draw and the development proved to be most successful as builders began to build up a premier residential area that has remained very desirable to this day. Now we have the Club issue the demise of which could down grade the subdivision without question, therefore , everyone (residents) needs to pull together for the common good of all and save the course from complete destruction and the creation of Lord knows how many jammed in lots for more home sites . Do not like the plan for apartments on part of the Narrows, however , the redevelopment money has to come from somewhere and, unless some give and take on this issue occurs, Killearn Country Club will be history AND we , the resident owners ,will be the losers .

  5. Wow! What a piece of unblushing propaganda! Full of absurdity, bias and obvious lies. I guess, Sharon Mears (who is a realtor) is hoping for her cut from selling future multiple cheap condos jammed right into the center of such highly desirable place as Killearn Estates. I live there (albeit more than a mile away from KCC). I also know the opinions of 6 or 7 of my neighbors. None of us and not any other honest and reasonable person would believe in “the increase in overall property values” as the article falsely claims. Due to what? An intrusion of high-density housing like condos and apartments into the neighborhood of mostly single-family homes? Clogging the already clogged Centerville Road even more? Replacing views of the greens with views of the garbage dumps at the apartment complexes? Yeah, right! If we are hostages as Ms.Mears claims then the hostage takers are not the complainants. We are hostages of Mr.Tuck and the developers of the former KCC North 9 land who intend to profit at the expense of the current Killerarn homeowners.

  6. I don’t know, Common Sense. You may be basing that on the last either years and “The times they are a changin.”

  7. Nobody Golfs anymore…it’s a dying Sport..every Club in Tally is teetering on the edge of Bankruptcy..is Bankrupt or is For Sale with no interested Buyers..all 27 Holes should be turned into Trails..Parks and let some go back to Nature instead of trying so hard to save a Club very few people want

  8. Is the development of the land where the inn formerly stood being kept from development as a result of the litigation?

  9. A little homework shows both FSU professors live on the same road and the North 9 set to close. I’d think if said course owners have money to invest in other entities and are probably losing money without updates, they should countersue under the grounds of financial loss, court cost and wasted time.

  10. So we are to believe that Killearn is being held hostage by the North course owners, who are stopping Mr. Tuck from pumping vast sums of cash in to build the clubhouse from the TPC at Sawgrass? If that’s the case, why did the club fail to pay its personal property tax returns, and why did it just amend its mortgage for the fourth time in July, 2018 to borrow a paltry $35,000 to pay critical expenses?

    Killearn should file for bankruptcy so it can be sold to a third-party with financial resources before it is run all the way into the ground.

  11. Well stated, News Maven. The vast majority of the American “mainstream media” that purports to be “journalists” daily publish/broadcast assertions, accusations, misrepresentations, and outright falsehoods in the “news” sections of their publications or programming – that is basically fraud or “fake news”. Such non-factual practices should be strictly confined to the Opinion sections of the media – but they declare it as “news”. These MSM outlets also routinely omit facts in reporting that conflict with their narratives – or they simply ignore or bury an important news story that might conflict with what they wish to portray as the “news”.
    However, true journalism and real news consists of proven, verified, documented facts regarding events and issues, devoid of reporters’ and editors’ personal feelings, thoughts, or personal inflections. Sadly, the MSM in America long ago abandoned this true practice of journalism, despite calling themselves “journalists” and indignantly acting insulted when the public calls them out on it. Textbook examples: CNN, The NY Times, Washington Post, et al.

  12. Is this from CNN or TR. It is obviously not journalism. Where is the other side of the issue? What a hatchet job. Staff should be terribly embarrassed.

    1. Elwin:
      Please re-read the headline.
      Pay careful attention to the very first word.
      When the local rag or CNN put out their opinions as news, that’s Fake News.
      This one is clearly marked at the starting line.

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