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Photo by:  Beth Witsik | West Shore


Click the link to read the latest letter from the Board.

Normanoch Association, Inc.

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Potential 6 Acre Land Acquisition

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June 17, 2023 Hybrid Community Meeting

The Why

Protects the privacy of the community by controlling alternate use of the 6 acres.

Creates space for safe parking for the membership.

Mitigates future expenses by providing a potential opportunity to use the enhanced septic system when the current clubhouse septic system needs replacement.

Increases recreational opportunities by providing space for development.


Background and Key Components

Several years ago the Board investigated purchasing the entire (100 aces +/-) golf course property for a purchase price close to $1 million dollars.Based on findings of the preliminary investigation it was determined that the pursuit was not in the best interests of Normanoch.


In 2021, the Greater Culver Lake Watershed Foundation secured the necessary funding commitments to acquire the majority of the Golf Course property as part of their land conservation effort and has come to an agreement with the current owner.The owner is working on property cleanup.The planned subdivision of the majority of the golf course for purchase by the Foundation, created an opportunity to make the remaining 6 acre parcel part of our community.


A group of individuals in the community approached the Board in the hopes that we might look at acquiring the 6 acre parcel of land.We listened to their ideas and continued to monitor the listing as potential purchasers approached the owner and the township with ideas for development.The 6 acres were offered at a greatly reduced price from the previous price for the entire property.The Board entered into negotiations of price and conditions with the owner.


The liquor license is no longer available for sale and is therefore not part of the purchase.


The Robin’s Nest is not in good condition, and requires demolition.


Property Outline.

Blue:6 acre lot

Yellow:GCLWCF planned preserved land, 93 acres.















Letter of Intent and Due Diligence.

The Letter of Intent (LOI) was signed on June 6, 2023.


An LOI expresses the intent to purchase and the preliminary terms.  It is an expression of good faith.  It is not a contract.  It precedes the purchase and sale agreement.


The LOI specifies the intended purchase price and financing terms.


The due diligence process and contingencies agreed upon in the LOI include:  allowance for all site inspections deemed necessary including wetlands, well, septic; environmental investigations.  Contingencies are included for sub division approval and site plan approval if needed.  The intent is to carry forward the agreed upon terms of the LOI into the sales and purchase agreement.


The sales and purchase agreement is executed prior to carrying out due diligence because due diligence requires an expenditure of funds for inspections, environmental investigations and other fees.


The timing for communication with the community was chosen because we have done preliminary investigation to determine that there is a viable purchase with defined potential benefits, and agreement with the seller on price, financing and terms, yet we have not progressed to contract and investing funds in further due diligence.  Similar to purchasing a home, once the contract is signed, and we move forward there will be additional information discovered, twists and turns in the process and the need to make informed decisions and remain transparent with the community.


The Risk of Inaction

Loss of control over development.  Proposed uses over the past 2 years:

  • Private recreation center or town park

  • Acquisition by a contractor to build homes

  • Bar or restaurant attracting traffic and crowds

  • Agricultural development


Land acquisition for:

  • Increased parking capacity and safety

  • Enhanced septic system already in place (pending verification by inspection during due diligence period)

  • Community informed future development in close proximity to the clubhouse:  initial possibilities include playground, pavilion, pickle-ball, basketball.  There is no space available for additional development on the current clubhouse grounds.  Planning and decision making for future possibilities would be driven by community/board task force.

Estimated Acquisition Costs and Financing


NOTE:  Costs are estimated based on knowledge gathered to date and are preliminary in nature.  It is expected that estimates will be updated as the process continues.


Initial asking price was $495,000.   Negotiated price in the LOI is $325,000 with $50,000 down.










Financing:  Seller financing at 5% for 6 years with no pre-payment penalty included in the LOI.   This is advantageous given current interest rates and the difficulty with arranging financing with a bank for a vacant piece of property with a building in disrepair.


Per member:

  • $325k/465 lake homes = approximately $10.24 a month per membership

  • Translates to approximately $123 per membership per year


Costs for $50k down and closing costs to be covered by retained earnings.


Costs for additional development to be determined and planned by joint committee of board and community.


Anticipated Next Steps


NOTE:  This is a preliminary schedule based on what we know today and how we anticipate the process will play out.  We recognize that as with any real estate purchase there are un-knowns that are discovered through the due diligence process which will effect the budget and the schedule.




Questions and Answers

Submitted Prior to the meeting:


Q:  What is the status of the liquor license?

A:  The liquor license is unavailable and therefore will not be part of the purchase.


Q: Under the Normanoch’s current operating bylaws, how would this issue come to a final decision.

A:  The Board will continue to seek member input and communicate through the next steps.  The Board will weigh all information and vote. 

“The goals of the Association include the safe operation of the recreation area and preservation of the lake as a natural resource.”   “Additionally, through the collection of dues and fees from its membership and the prudent management of these money resources, the Association has the responsibility of paying all debts of the Corporation, providing certain recreational needs for the membership, enforcing adherence to rules and regulations for the benefit of the general membership, monitoring and seeking improvement of water quality, and representing the common interest of the membership in certain relationships with the local and State governments.”  This potential acquisition is within keeping of the goals and responsibilities due to the anticipated benefits of safer parking for the clubhouse, providing additional recreational opportunities, and planning for future septic needs.


Per the by-laws, “the property and the business of the corporation shall be managed by the Board of Directors.”


Q:  Who will be responsible for cleaning up the environmental hazards left behind by the golf course?

A:   Per the terms of the Letter of Intent, if environmental contamination is identified on the property, the Seller will be responsible for cleanup. 


Questions Asked During the Meeting:


Q:  What will we do with the existing septic field, if it is abandoned and the golf course septic field is used?

A:   We met with a septic contractor in the area, initial indication is that we would not need to remove the current septic field fill if it is abandoned.  This would need to be verified during due diligence.  The land could then potentially be used for additional recreational opportunities.


Q:  What would the savings be from using the golf course septic field, rather than replacing our own? 

A:   We have a preliminary estimate of $50k – $60k to redo the existing Normanoch field.  During the meeting on the 17th we did not recall an estimate for connecting to the new field. However, after that meeting, looking back at our from a previous meeting with a septic contractor, he gave an estimated cost in the range of $15k - $25k for tying into the existing system including fees and construction.


Q:   Have you talked with the Board of Health or Sussex County regarding the golf course septic field?

A:  The septic field is permitted by NJDEP.  While there has been a preliminary conversation with NJDEP, we cannot request a formal opinion until we are under contract with the owner.


Q: Considering required buffers along adjacent properties and along wetlands, and the slope of the property, how much of the 6 acres is considered developable land?

A:  Rough estimate is approximately 3-4 acres. This would need to be verified during due diligence. Site access to ascertain the presence and potential effects of wetlands is provided for in the LOI, and would subsequently be provided in the sales and purchase agreement.


Q:  Have you considered the safety of constructing a playground across the street from the main clubhouse.  Concern is for children crossing the street.

A: Answer provided by member who was previously in charge of the clubhouse when the Board was considering expanding the playground on the clubhouse side.  To meet current code expansion of the playground on the clubhouse side would require utilizing ¾ of the lawn.


Q:  How will demolition of the building be financed?

A:   Retained earnings.


Comment:  From a member who has been here since 1944.  Demands on the clubhouse have increased, we have limited options except this one.  There is a time in the history of the Association when decisions must be contemplated and made. Even if the cost escalates to $475k/475 = $1000 per household.  Would I pay? Yes! This is the moment to move.  (Disclaimer – this is not an exact quote as we only have written notes not a verbal recording)


Q:  $125/yr in dues. Will the down payment require an additional assessment?

A:  No, the money for the down payment is part of the retained earnings.


Q:  (Not an exact quote). Given that the community was recently assessed to pay for the aeration, and this results in members who could no longer participate and made membership increasingly difficult for some members, can we find a way to mitigate the impact of this purchase so as to not distance young families from membership?

A:  This is something we wrestle with.  We are always cognizant of the people who have continued to serve and be a part of this community, and for whom membership fees are a financial struggle.


Comment:  by member.  Came in negative, but now thinks this is a good idea.  Please consider fencing to keep visitors from facilities and be transparent in communication with the community.


Q:  Would there be a tax benefit to doing this via a capital call.

A:  No for 2 reasons.  1)  The additional dues would be collected and paid towards the seller held loan in the same year, and 2) We recently switched legal counsel and have discovered that even though we are not a mandatory Homeowners Association, we are able to apply the tax rules for filing as an HOA.



You need to consider ongoing maintenance costs in the financials.


There are multiple things we could do with the property, I would love to see basketball courts.

In decision making process, please engage the community


Make sure you share information outside of email since not all members receive emails.

We need this for parking safety.  There have been accidents along this road when there are parked cars.


We have no idea what could go there.


This will increase the value of our homes.  “To me it’s a no brainer”.


Q: Are there any benefits to subdividing some of the 6 acres and selling it back to the Foundation?

A:  from John Fabian, VP for the Foundation:  No, it’s too late.  Also, Hutan has been very forthcoming picking up costs of contamination.


Comment:  member was involved in something similar.  Experience was that people on adjacent lots had concern because they bought next to open space and then a change was proposed.


Q: Will we need to remove abandoned septic field.  Are there hidden costs there that should be considered?

A:  We met with a septic contractor in the area, initial indication is that we would not need to remove the current septic field fill if it is abandoned.  This would need to be verified during due diligence.  The land could then potentially be used for additional recreational opportunities.


Q: How does the timing of the demolition of the building effect permitting/utilizing the golf course septic system.

A: Preliminary consultation with a septic contractor and NJDEP indicate that permitting is on a two year cycle and that we would need to coordinate the demolition timing accordingly.


Q:  If we don’t demolish the building until after purchase, how will we know about contamination concerns prior to closing?

A:  The environmental investigation will include the building and any contamination concerns under the building.

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