By Mike Lednovich, Editor
A Nassau County Judge Friday has blocked the Omni Plantation from continuing to demolish the Ocean Links Golf Course which it began bulldozing last Monday as County deputies stood guard.
“Until this Court dissolves the injunction or modifies this Order, or until the (Amelia Island) Club and the Omni agree otherwise, the Omni is enjoined and restrained from further demolishing or altering the condition of the Ocean Links Golf Course,” the order stated and was signed by Judge Steven Fahlgren.
Attorneys for the 1,400 member Amelia Island Club had filed a complaint against the Omni Plantation saying the closing and demolition of the Ocean Links Golf Course violated the 99-year operating agreement between the resort and the club.
“The Club also has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits in this case. Based upon the allegations in the Verified Complaint it appears that the Omni is in breach of the Agreement,” the order stated. “This injunction will also serve the public interest. Preserving the status quo will protect the rights of the Club, its members, and any other individuals owning homes adjacent to the Ocean Links Golf Course. And it does not appear that the Omni will suffer any harm if its efforts to convert a golf course into green space are delayed.”
Numerous green complexes, particularly those adjacent to the ocean, have been destroyed and leveled by bulldozers.
The court said the Omni’s actions has already caused damage to Amelia Island Club members.
“The Club will be irreparably harmed if the Omni continues demolishing the Ocean Links Golf Course, and (ii) there is no remedy at law for the Club’s loss. Each day during which demolition continues will exacerbate the condition of the Ocean Links Golf Course. It appears that this will make it more difficult to restore the course to the condition described in Exhibit D to the Agreement. And until the course is restored, the Club and its members are deprived of valuable real property rights that cannot be quantified,” the court stated.
The court said the Parties (the Omni and the Amelia Island Club) had acknowledged and agreed that it is the intention of the Parties to allow continued usage of all the Resort Amenities and Club Amenities for the benefit of the [Omni], the Club, its Members and Member Guests accompanying Club Members, pursuant to the terms of this Agreement. The Agreement’s definition of “Resort Amenities” expressly includes the “Ocean Links Golf Course”
The agreement, established in 2010, also stated “The Omni agreed to operate Ocean Links course with general maintenance and operations standards of comparable first class semi-private golf courses of similar age, circumstances and with comparable resort golf fees located on the southeastern seaboard of the United States.”
The court noted that the Omni had breached its agreement with the Amelia Island Club by:
- Not maintaining and operating the Ocean Links Golf Course in accordance with the standards identified in the Agreement.
- Undertaking to destroy the Ocean Links Golf Course; and
- Not providing the Club members two 18-hole championship level golf courses.
The next step is for the Omni and Amelia Island Club to meet with a mediator.
The Omni had begun demolition of Ocean Links unannounced to the public, saying it was converting the property into green space and committing its golf resource to its other 18-hole course Oak Marsh.