Driving range at Club Rio Rancho

There’s no drinking, nor driving on the range, at Club Rio Rancho these days.

Stephen Montoya

The Rio Rancho Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended approval of a request to change the zoning of the dilapidated golf course in order to redevelop it.

Commissioner David Heil cast the only dissenting vote during the meeting Tuesday night at City Hall. The zone-change request will now go before the Rio Rancho Governing Body, which will make the final decision.

Developer Josh Skarsgard is proposing to redo the golf course and clubhouse of the former Club Rio Rancho. The east and north nine holes of the course would stay a golf course or be converted to open space under his plan, while most of the west nine would be converted to single-family housing.

To proceed, the area must be rezoned from Special Use-Golf Course to Special Use-Planned Residential District.

Since the January planning and zoning meeting, Skarsgard dropped a request to use a small section of land for multi-family housing, as well as changing plans to put residential areas on the North Nine. He says converting the West Nine to housing is the only way he could afford to deed the rest of the course and the clubhouse over to a golf-course developer to have a chance at retaining use for golf.

West Nine property owners have protested that the plan is unfair because the bulk of the housing goes in their area and they're concerned about increased traffic, greater burdens on schools and decreased property values. Many of the homeowners on the other 18 holes support the plan, saying it's the only way to save the parts of the course their houses border.

More details will be in Sunday's Observer.