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.