“When you buy a house on the golf course – seventh fairway or something – you might expect that there’s no change but there’s no guarantee,” said Judge Harry Tobias, as he reflected on the homeowners’ expectations that the area in front of their houses would always be a golf course.
The 125 trees in question fall in the fallow part of the golf course, which employees stopped watering in July when Ridgemark closed some of its fairways and moved from a 36-hole course to an 18-hole facility.
Thursday afternoon, the judge issued a temporary restraining order forbidding JMK to trim or cut down any standing tree on the fallow portion of the golf course. Tobias added that homeowners must post a bond valued at million on or before Oct. 16 to keep the injunction in place through the end of the month.
The bond is meant to cover the cost of accidents if one of the trees protected in the restraining order falls on a person or house. The attorney representing the Ridgemark Homes Association, Bradley Matteoni, agreed to ask the homeowners if they’d be willing to post the bond. JMK’s attorney, John Richards, argued the judge’s proposed million bond was not high enough.
“We're incredibly concerned about the bond as it stands, your honor. I think it should be at least million,” Richards said. “We would like a larger amount.”
Ridgemark resident Melissa Casillas was one of nine in the audience watching the proceedings.
“I can't really comment on the bond because I don't know what it would cost,” said Casillas, who noted she would be willing to pay toward saving the trees she loves.
An “order to show clause” hearing – meaning one or both parties will justify the reason they want an ongoing restraining order – will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 30 at the San Benito County Courthouse.
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