Lake Norman & Mooresville

The Point, Trump will talk again

Leaders at The Point Lake and Golf Club and representatives from the Trump Organization will re-engage in discussions this week after a straw vote showed a large majority of members favor selling the private country club to the real estate mogul.

Within three weeks, Donald and Eric Trump are expected to present to members their vision for The Point, which is expected to be renamed Trump National Golf Club - Charlotte.

After that, members will officially vote on the sale.

During the recent straw vote, 610 of 851 eligible members voted, casting 1,611 total weighted votes. Of those, 1,085 votes supported selling the club to Trump, while 526 preferred a member-owned club.

In an email to residents, the county club's board of directors said negotiations with Trump are expected to be finalized within one to three weeks.

Once they're final, the board will provide documents to residents on the deal, although the email didn't specify the actual contract with Trump, said one resident, who asked not to be identified because the club's leadership has asked that members not speak to the news media.

"It will be interesting to see what they actually give us," said the resident.

Just like the recent straw vote, the official vote will be weighted.

Members will also be asked to vote on lifting the neighborhood's covenants and restrictions as part of the Trump deal. That vote will not be weighted.

William Allison, staff planner with Iredell County's planning department, said the country club would not be violating any county codes should it decide to waive its covenants and restrictions.

"That's a contractual agreement between two parties, and the county is not part of that," he said. "Usually those covenants are architectural standards that go above and beyond the county's minimum requirements."

If the majority of votes favor selling the club to Trump and waiving the neighborhood's covenants, the club will finalize the sale, said the resident.

The resident, who said she favors a member-owned club, said she isn't discouraged by the recent results of the straw votes. She still considers the vote close, she said.

"A lot of the people that voted probably just wanted to see the finalized terms and didn't feel like they could make a determination at that point without seeing those final terms," said the resident. "I don't think it means that if they voted for Trump that they're absolutely for him."

In addition, the resident said the vote may not reflect how the majority of members feel about the sale. After all, the resident said, those with golf memberships had the most heavily weighted votes, even though they represent only a quarter of the community.

Other memberships offered at the club, in order of most weighted, include sports, tennis and community memberships.

Tennis members make up the largest portion of the community, at about 30 percent.

"It was a very bad straw poll by design. They should have had it as a one-to-one vote," said another resident, who also asked not to be identified for the same reason as the first resident. "A straw is supposed to be a reed in the wind."

The second resident, who is also in favor of a member-owned club, said he has several concerns about the project.

He's worried residents will not see the final contract before they're asked to vote on the sale, he said.

Thus far, he said, "I have not been told by anyone that we will see the actual contract in a timely manner before the final vote."

He also pointed out that while the assessed value of the club is $22 million, Trump may buy it for $3 million.

The resident said he's worried Trump will turn around and sell the club to another party in order to make a sizable profit.

The resident said he might support Trump's owning the club if there were more transparency about the negotiations, if residents could see the contract and if the contract specified exactly what Trump has planned for the 12-year-old club.

"Most animals, including humans, have a fear of the unknown," he said. "We have not been given enough information."

The lack of transparency is unacceptable, especially considering how much the deal would affect the neighborhood as well as the surrounding area.

He noted that any additional development that Trump would bring may put a strain on water resources. And should the Trump Organization decide to host tournaments or weddings at the club, it could affect the local police and fire departments, said the resident.

"Under the best case scenario, this could be an economic shot in the arm. Under the worst case scenario, it could drain resources from the surrounding area," said the resident.