Rancho Santa Fe Association board OKs sponsored tennis memberships

The Rancho Santa Fe Association board approved sponsored memberships at the RSF Tennis Club at its July 7 meeting, extending the 25-member category through June 30, 2017. The RSF Tennis Club had been seeking the renewal of the program, which over the last year has resulted in increased activity and play as well as dues revenue.

The former board had previously considered the category at its June 30 meeting, splitting its decision 3-3. With the new board, the vote was 5-1, with Mike Licosati voting against it. Ann Boon was not present for the vote.

The sponsored membership program brings in revenue of over $60,000 a year. The cost of the limited membership is $2,500 a year, which is an increase from the previous rate of $2,188, and ensures that Covenant members are receiving “substantially better value.” Covenant residents currently pay an initiation fee of $3,750 plus monthly dues that vary for family and single memberships.

Licosati requested that they get an opinion from legal counsel before they took action as he felt it might be a violation of the Davis-Stirling Act if residents are paying more than non-residents to be in the club. He said Covenant members pay approximately $5,000 in the first year of joining the club (with initiation fee plus dues). A non-resident would pay dues of $2,500 so in the first two years a Covenant resident will pay more than a non-resident and only after year-three it would equalize and then reverse; which Licosati said seemed “quite unfair.”

“To a lesser extent, this may apply to the former resident category at the Golf Club, where a new member joining has to pay a higher initiation fee than a former resident did when they originally joined,” Licosati said of the potential Davis-Sterling Act violation.

The board also approved the former resident category at the Golf Club at the meeting in a 5-0 vote with Licosati abstaining.

Dave Van Den Berg, a RSF Tennis Club board member, argued that the sponsored tennis members do pay an initiation fee — he said it is part of the $2,500 paid every year.

Licosati suggested that the membership categories be reviewed by the Association governance committee.