With about one year’s worth of Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) funds we could use eminent domain to secure the private and exclusive Broadmoor and Sandpoint golf courses, laying the groundwork to transform them into environmentally sustainable mixed-income housing and massive public parks. This would both end a massive $1.2 million (at minimum) annual tax subsidy for the super rich and improve Seattle’s affordability and sustainability.

Too good to be true?

Not according to the King County Department of Assessments, which has set the “true and fair value” for the 221 acres of the Broadmoor and Sandpoint Country clubs at less than a dollar per square foot, $8.5 million–a massive discount versus every other parcel in the city. Single family parcels in Seattle run $20 per square foot on the low side, climbing up to more than $150. Even the city-owned golf courses are valued at $12.50 per square foot! As a result of this low-ball valuation, the private courses pay less than 6% of the property tax they should.

Don’t just get mad at the breadth of the current tax giveaway. Take action.

Are we being sandbagged?

So let’s rewind. The Broadmoor and Sandpoint Country Clubs are two of the largest undeveloped parcels in the city. Others include cemeteries, the four city-owned golf courses, and large city parks, such as Discovery, Seward, Carkeek, and the Arboretum. Unlike all of these, the two private clubs exclude the public entirely. So, what’s the big deal? The owners of private clubs are free to not open their land to the public. Right? 

Yes. But here’s what isn’t permitted: sweetheart tax deals that violate the requirements of “true and fair value” (WAC 458-07-030) and “uniformity” (RCW 84.08.010). The Broadmoor and Sandpoint Country Clubs appear to be getting a massive pennies-on-the-dollar tax deal. Broadmoor is valued at 76 cents per square foot; Sandpoint at $1.03. If you live in Othello, on average land is valued at about $20; Magnolia, $60; Wallingford, $100; Thornton Creek, $30. 

The numbers are pretty shocking, but even these current low golf course valuations are a marked increase from just a few years ago. Between 2010 and 2012, unlike most of the city, the Broadmoor assessment plummeted 68% and Sandpoint 85%, recovering in 2018. Coincidentally, the employee responsible for assessing the Broadmoor and Sandpoint Country Clubs lived in Broadmoor. (She no longer works for the department.)

This is a big charge. What’s the evidence? 

The King County Department of Assessments is responsible for valuing all property in the county. Here’s what the Department of Assessments says about how it values golf courses in the 2019 Area 343 Report: “The Assessor’s office values most golf courses as if they are the highest and best use of the site. The golf course land is valued accordingly, using large acreage land sales to establish land value. Both the cost approach (replacement cost new less depreciation method or RCNLD) and the sales comparison approach were utilized in the valuation of the golf courses.”

So let’s look at the 35 properties the Assessor has used as comparable parcels (page 13 in the Area Report). The average sales price is 70 cents per square foot. The average value of the 10 largest (20-40 acre) properties is 88 cents per square foot. Most of these parcels are in very rural areas outside Issaquah, Duvall, Auburn, and Maple Valley, where surrounding parcels are large, and zoning restricts development–sometimes to as little as one home for every 5 to 10 acres. It’s debatable that large vacant lots in rural areas are useful for setting the value of a large vacant parcel within Seattle city limits. For example, property values in downtown Seattle are about 30% higher than in downtown Bellevue. So it stands to reason that a large undeveloped parcel in Seattle is worth more than one in rural King County. 

And indeed, the data backs this up. The most recent comparable sale used for golf courses is inside North Bend city limits, not far off I-90, and next to a park and river. It sold for $4.20 per square foot, for development as housing. More importantly, the Talaris Conference Center, a large parcel in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood that was recently acquired by housing developers just sold for $20.14 per square foot (the assessed value is $33.49.) 

Yet somehow, the King County Assessor asserts that an undeveloped parcel in North Bend, 32 miles from downtown Seattle, is worth 552% more than the Broadmoor Country Club, and that Sandpoint Country Club is worth just 5% of the nearby Talaris. 

The valuation differences are even more dramatic when we look at the single-family parcels near the two courses. These parcels around Broadmoor, which are also zoned SF 7200, are valued at $151.90 per square foot (almost 200 times more); the single family parcels around Sandpoint are valued at $100.52 per square foot (97 times more). Even Danny Westneat inThe Seattle Times tacitly agrees the private courses are woefully undervalued.

Parcel Size (Sq Ft)  Size (Acres)  Land Value  Value / Sq Ft 
Broadmoor Country Club  5,267,317   120.9   $4,017,400   $0.76  
SandPoint Country Club  4,362,878   100.2   $4,493,600   $1.03  
All Golf Course
27,414,989   629.4   $19,101,200   $0.70  
10 Largest Golf
12,833,356   294.6   $11,316,250   $0.88  
North Bend
915,631   21.0   $3,850,000   $4.20  
Talaris sale 776,239  17.8   $15,630,000   $20.14 

What would it mean if the two private courses were valued according to the sales of the North Bend and Talaris properties? A 400% to 2,600% increase in value. If Broadmoor were valued according to the sale of the recent large Talaris property, its assessment would increase from $4 million to more than $100 million!

Parcel Size  (Sq Ft)  AssessorValue  Using North Bend Value of $4.20/sq ft  Using Talaris Value of $20.14/sq ft 
Country Club 
5,267,317 $4,017,400 $22,122,731 (550%) $106,083,764 (2640%) 
Country Club 
4,362,878 $4,493,600 $18,324,088 (408%) $87,868,363 (1955%) 

Why does this matter?

The undervaluing of the private Seattle Golf Courses means you, as a renter or homeowner, pay more property tax. Washington State property tax for a given parcel is based on two things: the government budget for a tax district and the value of the given parcel as a percentage of the value of all property. Most simply, if the county budget is $500, and all property in the county is valued at $1,000, and my parcel is valued at $100, then my tax is $50 with a tax rate of 10%—the math is ($100/$1,000)*$500. But say the total property value in the county increases to $1,100 (because we correctly assess golf courses), then my tax drops: ($100/$1,100)*$500=$45. What will the private courses pay in property tax for the 2019 assessment year? A combined total of $78,505.44. For comparison just two single-family parcels in Broadmoor that total just 0.6% the size of the golf course pay more tax than the entire golf course! 

Parcel Size  (Sq Ft)  Land Value  Value / Sq Ft Total Tax Tax Rate Tax /  Sq Ft 
Broadmoor Country Club  5,267,317  $4,017,400 $0.76 $37,078.27 0.9229% $0.00704 
SandPoint Country
4,362,878  $4,493,600 $1.03 $41,427.17  0.9219% $0.00950 
2 Broadmoor
30,480  $4,908,000 $161.02 $45,297.99 0.9229% $1.48615 

If the private courses had been valued like the North Bend or Talaris properties, or the average home parcels nearby, they would have paid dramatically more tax.

Parcel Assessor Tax Using North Bend Value  Using Talaris Value  Using Nearby SF Avg 
Broadmoor Country Club  $37,078.27  $204,180  $979,092  $7,384,509 
SandPoint Country Club  $41,427.17  $168,933  $810,072  $4,043,118 

But is this a fair critique, to compare the assessment of a golf course (which is zoned as Single Family) with the nearby single family properties? The Assessor would say, no: 

“Golf courses, especially private ones, have very restrictive uses and convenants on what they can be used for and junkyards don’t. You could take the junkyard and turn it into a commercial building. You can’t do that with a privately held golf course.” (May 4, 2020)

“As I said, private golf courses = private golf courses. That meets the uniformity under state law. That’s what we must do. I suppose you could try to turn it into housing. But you’ll have to get ALL the owners of the golf course to agree.” (May 4, 2020)

Here’s the tax subsidy

Okay, fair enough. So let’s compare the Broadmoor and Sandpoint Country Clubs with four nearby courses, Seattle’s municipal courses. The municipal courses are assessed between 1,200% and 8,200% more!

Parcel Size (Sq Ft) Land Value Value / Sq Ft 
Broadmoor Country Club  5,267,317   $4,017,400   $0.76  
SandPoint Country Club  4,362,878   $4,493,600   $1.03  
Jackson Park Golf Course  6,986,152   $87,326,900   $12.50  
Interbay Golf Course  2,020,228   $126,264,200   $62.50  
Jefferson Park Golf Course  5,710,716   $85,660,700   $15.00  
West Seattle Golf Course  8,360,884   $125,413,100   $15.00 

And what would this mean for taxes? Were we to value the private courses as we do Jefferson Park, $15 per square foot, the courses would pay $1.2 million more in tax per year. Instead, the private courses pay 6% of the tax they should. This represents a massive subsidy for private and exclusive country clubs that other private clubs like the Seattle Yacht Club and Seattle Tennis Club don’t get. 

Using value of … Value / Sq Ft Broadmoor Value Broadmoor Taxes Sandpoint Value Sandpoint Taxes 
Jackson Park Golf Course 12.50  $65,841,463   $607,678  (1639%)  $54,535,975   $502,775  (1214%) 
Interbay Golf Course 62.50  $329,207,182   $3,038,391  (8195%)  $272,679,767   $2,513,876 (6068%) 
Jefferson Park Golf Course 15.00  $79,009,718   $729,214  (1967%)  $65,443,139   $603,330  (1456%) 
West Seattle Golf Course 15.00  $79,009,654   $729,213  (1967%)  $65,443,087   $603,330  (1456%) 

For further comparison, the King County Department of Assessments has also assigned a value to Seattle Parks and cemeteries. All of them, including the Arboretum and Magnuson Park which are adjacent to the two private golf courses, are valued significantly higher. The Assessor’s assertion that the Seattle private golf courses are valued according to the value of large undeveloped parcels fails the sniff test.

Parcel Size (Sq Ft) Land Value Value / Sq Ft 
Broadmoor Country Club  5,267,317   $4,017,400   $0.76  
SandPoint Country Club  4,362,878   $4,493,600   $1.03  
Discovery Park  23,512,483   $1,029,606,300   $43.79  
Magnuson Park   13,805,024   $1,242,452,000   $90.00  
Carkeek Park  7,493,213   $31,684,400   $4.23  
Arboretum  7,672,222   $30,688,800   $4.00  
Lakeview Cemetery  1,658,329   $49,749,800   $30.00  
Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery  5,906,554   $59,065,500   $10.00 

So what should we do?

The City of Seattle should buy Broadmoor and Sandpoint golf courses via eminent domain, using MHA funds to do so, and convert them into housing and parks. 

Seriously. As The Seattle Times points out, buying new parks is normally extraordinarily expensive. But here’s an opportunity for us to buy parkland for cheap. Per the Department of Assessment, the golf course land is worth less than $5 million each. If we tack on the club buildings, the value of both golf courses amounts to $20.5 million. In 2019, Seattle brought in $15 million in fees from developers to pay for affordable housing. So let’s use 2020’s MHA funds to eminent domain the courses for their assessed value. After we purchase the land at the King County Assessor’s “true and fair value,” we can transform half of the sites into mixed-income environmentally sustainable passivehaus housing, and turn the rest into parkland. The housing will bring in revenue that will eventually recoup the cost and generate additional revenue for more housing, as well as increase the tax base dramatically more than the current golf course. 

Ah, “But this is Seattle,” you protest. “The country clubs will fight the sale!”  

They may. But will their argument hold water? That there’s no public purpose? But we’re in a housing crisis, and we need more land for homes. And our per capita park acreage is dropping by the week as new neighbors move into the city. Both are valid reasons to eminent domain the courses. 

Or do you think that the clubs will argue that the “true and fair value” is too low?  

And that’s the point. 

If the exclusive country clubs want to argue that we should pay a higher price for their courses, let them. We can use the process to set the value to $15, $20, $50 per square foot, and the courses can finally start paying their fair share of taxes, ending this public giveaway to the super rich. 

I promised at the beginning I didn’t want you to just get angry, I wanted you to take action. What can you do? 

  1. Sign this petition.
  2. Contact your King County representatives and Assessor and ask for a public investigation into the true and fair valuation of the Seattle private courses.  
  3. Contact your King County and Seattle representatives and ask that we eminent domain Broadmoor and Sandpoint Country Clubs for housing and public parks. 
  4. Write a letter to the Seattle Times in support of buying the courses through eminent domain. Email letters@seattletimes.com and include your full name, address and telephone number for verification only. Letters are limited to 200 words. 
  5. Share your support on Facebook and Twitter. 

How to find your King County and Seattle representatives: 

Correction: This article has been updated to clarify that it was an employee of the Department of Assessments who lived in Broadmoor and was responsible for valuing golf courses. To be clear, the King County Assessor John Wilson has never lived in Broadmoor and addressed the conflict upon taking office.

We hope you loved this article. If so, please consider subscribing or donating. The Urbanist is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that depends on donations from readers like you.

Paul Chapman lives in Wallingford and advocates for progressive urbanist causes. You can follow him on Twitter at @PoulChapman.

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There’s a huge hole in the logic of this article. The article states that eminent domain should be used to buy the two golf courses at the assessed value. The 5th Amendment to the US Constitution states “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” So if they are bought at the assessed value, and the transaction is constitutional, i.e., the condemnees are paid fair market value that is the same as assessed value, then where is the subsidy? They are being assessed at fair market value.


Worth noting is that if they did buy up the land, it would improve the pedestrian environment in a dramatic fashion. Both parks limit egress, forcing people to walk well out of their way. For example: https://goo.gl/maps/56pPNXAcUAgwz9WD6 and https://goo.gl/maps/hYgYYvFDiZvoJoqn6. These would be ten minute walks if it wasn’t for the barrier. As bad as that is, the worst is Broadmoor. It effectively cuts off Madison Beach with the Arboretum and the UW. Instead of a fifteen or twenty minute walk, it takes almost an hour (https://goo.gl/maps/TWSHcw5WwbSDZsBB8). What is true of walking is true of biking.


A survey was done that looked at several private clubs in King County and their entire tax burden, all things included. The average tax bill for seven courses outside the city of Seattle surveyed was $116,464, and this does not include Broadmoor or Sand Point. Including Seattle’s surface water management assessment and other smaller charges, Broadmoor and Sand Point each pay just under $320,000, or nearly three times what courses outside of Seattle pay. The article also mentions the Assessor’s Area 343 report that noted the person responsible for assessing golf courses was Russ Butler, now retired, who did not live in Broadmoor, not a woman who lives in Broadmoor. Mr. Chapman could have easily fact-checked either of these issues prior to writing his article.


The property tax bill may be low, but the two courses you refer to pay well over $200K per year for surface water management in addition to their base property tax that more than doubles the taxes and assessments each of them pays. This is a fact that is not discussed in your article.


So what? If my water bill is too high, I stop watering the lawn. The fact that golf courses use excessive amounts of water is hardly an argument that they should pay less in property taxes.


The SWM assessment has nothing to do with their public water consumption or usage of public water. The water for the golf course is an arrangement with the Department of Natural Resources.


Paul, Raising the property taxes on these private clubs would put them out of business and result in them having to sell the properties to a developer and they would then be developed into housing and or commercial properties. Perhaps the tact to take is to have them become permanent green space with no development potential. If that were the case the property taxes would probably be fair as they stand today.


Subsidy: money given by the government

Not paying the taxes you think should be does not equal a subsidy.


OK, so what if they payed the same rate as everyone else, but then the government gave them a big check just for being a golf course? Wouldn’t you call that a subsidy? That is en effect what is happening — it is a distinction without a difference. This is a subsidy.


Have you considered what the added assessed value of the lots bordering the fairways is vs. non-fairway lots in Broadmoor is? Within Broadmoor alone the added assessed value per SF of fairway lots is over $21/SF, and summing that additional value because of the golf course x the land area of fairway lots amounts to over $23 million in assessed value attributed to the golf course in 2019 figures.


While the land beneath these golf courses may be zoned single-family they’re encumbered with CC&R’s that limit their use and make redevelopment an unlikely scenario.

WAC 458-07-030 states: “Uses that are within the realm of possibility, but not reasonably probable of occurrence, shall not be considered in valuing property at its highest and best use.”

The state Board of Tax Appeals has consistently ruled that redevelopment of these golf courses is not considered reasonably probable so the Assessor is restricted to valuing them as large acreage open space instead of highly valuable single-family land that’s ripe for redevelopment.

This isn’t an issue with the Assessor. They don’t make the rules, they just follow them.


Except you didn’t read the article at all. This isn’t about whatever “highest and best use” debate on their zoning. They are devalued assessments because the public courses are 1200% higher. And, they are skirting uniformity clause by “comparing” to rural open land way out in far away king county. They should be assessed to other golf courses and open spaces in the city, like every other property is assessed. Or else Seattle home owners could demand the same land assessment as home owners in Auburn WA


I read the article. I’ve also looked pretty deeply into this issue. The better supported argument to make is that public golf courses are over assessed compared to private golf courses, not the other way around. However the public courses are tax exempt so their assessments are never challenged.

The private courses do pay taxes, therefore they have challenged their assessments in the past. Historically the state Board of Tax Appeals (the ones in charge of ruling on issues of uniformity) has agreed with the golf course owners’ interpretation of the law: that in these specific situations it is not “reasonably probable” the golf courses can be redeveloped to a higher and better use therefore they should be valued like similar restrictive use large acreage open space and not single-family land that’s able to be redeveloped. This is the interpretation that’s been handed down to the Assessor by the legal system, not one that was arrived at independently by the Assessor.


Assessing property in a neighborhood of Seattle where the average home value is $2 million dollars the *same value* as a golf course in Renton WA, where those average homes in the golfing neighborhood are assessed at 20% of that, to me, is not uniform. Otherwise the single family homes in Seattle wouldn’t be assessed much higher than the single family homes in Renton.

Again, I never said that this didn’t have some over sight. I’m simply saying I don’t believe it’s uniform. And this article did an excellent job of outlining that.

You “think” public golf courses are assessed too high, but that seems to only be the case because it blows up your defense, and the defense of “uniformity”. No, they aren’t taxed, but they are assessed. That’s two different things. The public courses are *also* assessed low, considering the average single family home in Seattle has an assessed land value around $100 per square foot. Public courses are being assessed at $12 per square foot.

But I digress. When the facts are simple and obvious, and you imply a conspiracy or defend the actions to lower their property taxes, it just shows you just have an opinion on this that overrides the need to present a case.


The reason that public golf courses are assessed much higher is because several years ago the state Department of Revenue told the county assessor’s to stop revaluing public land since it took up manpower and other resources for no money. So the lands are in the computer system and receive the annual increases based on the part of the algorithm that simply increases land values automatically. Simply put, the uniformity is lost when the lands are removed from the revaluation equation to begin with.


There are restrictions that prevent development in perpetuity on Broadmoor? Often such restrictions can be voted out by the owners or are limited in time.


Yes, right on – that’s the rub right there. If any restrictions on use can be revoked or changed by folks with a financial interest in the property, they are just a tax avoidance scheme.

Richard Smith

Malcolm Gladwell did a brilliant podcast on this issue in Los Angeles and the preferential treatment golf courses received there


Property in California is subject to the state’s Proposition 13 that caps increases in assessed value until the property is actually sold, and therefore properties that do not sell eventually fall well behind the market. The voters in Cali chose to have it that way, and therefore there are property owners that benefit.


Could you please clarify your inference regarding the staff who lived in Broadmoor? Ditto on how you linked their employment to physical address.


It’s all public record. She was the commercial assessor in charge of the devaluing of private golf courses and you can look her up online and see her address in Broadmoor. There’s nothing malicious here. It’s all public documents.


The article has a hot link to the Assessor’s Area 343 report on golf courses. Page 9 of the report says the following:
Responsible Appraiser: The following appraiser completed the valuation of this specialty:  Russell Butler – Commercial Appraiser II
Russ is neither a woman nor does he live in Broadmoor.
Read the material before writing an article or commenting.


This is such a great deep dive into how they are getting off without paying their fair share. As someone who sees his property tax assessment 400% higher than what they charge for a Sand Point Country Club fairway I am utterly appalled. Especially when we are told mansions can’t be taxed higher because of a Uniformity Clause that balances land values equally. They can’t even LIVE with that!

Great discovery to find the retired assessor *in charge of* assessing Broadmoor Country Club’s land actually LIVES (currently! STILL!) in Broadmoor Country Club’s gated neighborhood.

We absolutely should eminent domain them if these assessments remain. Then we can use them to become parks or public courses and turn around and develop Jackson Park Golf Course for housing! Hey, there’s an article on The Urbanist about that too!


See comment above: Responsible Appraiser: The following appraiser completed the valuation of this specialty:  Russell Butler – Commercial Appraiser II. Russ is neither a woman nor does he live in Broadmoor. Not a great discovery at all. Great misstatement based on lack of proper fact-checking.


First off, a city can only use eminent domain if it’s for public use. A park or city owned housing. And the city doesn’t ultimately get to pick the price. It’s about fair market value.

If you wanted to buy the roughly 150 acres of Seattle Golf Club, you would be looking at around $100 million, and that’s just the land value. SGC could successfully argue the value of their property is worth even more.

So you think the good people of Seattle would want to spend $100 million (X 3.. you want broadmore and sand point as well) to build three more parks to add to the 40 the city has already and that the bums and drug addicts use more than the residents?

If you took the land of a golf course and put low income housing in all directions, the city WOULDN’T make more tax revenue as the housing would be all subsidized. You can’t eminent domain the course and then have a developer build apartments and rent them for cheap. The city would have to run the housing and if it was subsidized, then your argument that it would mean more revenue goes out the window.

A golf course doesn’t need the same city infrastructure support network 1,000+ low income apartments would. Police.. fire… electric… water… roads… etc. Adding and maintaining all those things have real costs.

Maybe the courses can pay more money… they would simply add more members to pay that bill. Or they go semi-private and let non-members come play the course ala cart and that would greatly increase traffic in, and around those neighborhoods.

This isn’t the “no brainer” you think it is..


Good comment Bart. But an FYI is that Seattle Golf Club is not inside the city limits of Seattle. It is north of NW 145th Street.


So that saves SGC from the city of Seattle but the math still roughly applies for Broadmore and Sand Point, which I think are in the city limits.

I’m fine with fair taxation.. in fact, we should all expect and demand it. But within the blog posts by the author, the contempt for the fact this is a private course isn’t veiled one bit.

Something about that makes me uncomfortable. Makes me wonder when he sees something about me that he thinks the city should take away from me under the guise of “public good.”

Chris Shotwell

Thank you for this exposé. I have emailed the King County Council, the City Council, and Kshama Sawant urging action to either reassess or purchase the properties through eminent domain. If Sawant can use her pulpit and get her followers involved there may be a real chance of change. At the very least, the city might be able to carve out a strip of land to connect Madison Park to the Arboretum by bike trail.


I contacted the King County assessor’s office a few years ago about a similar – it was not about golf courses, but about other private land that was valued very low compared to typical single family houses int he area. The email response I got was from Chris Coviello, who I believe was the appraiser in the area (this is back in 20017). He said:

“The 2 properties you have referenced in comparison are restricted use properties (in Area 1) that are labeled as such and used for public recreation only. Their assessed values reflect this and may not be used to indicate value.”

I followed up twice by email, asking him to clarify where the property listing specified “restricted use” and whether the private land was were in fact open to “public recreation”, because I could not see where it indicated this. Mr. Coviello did not respond to clarify.

For what it’s worth, the two properties I used as examples were in Shoreline, Parcel Number 931030-0335 and Parcel Number 242603-9085, both appraised at between $2 and $3 (compared to ~$20-$30 for nearby homes).


(sorry for the typos!)


Both of these lots are owned by a homeowners association and used for some common use like a park or other open space use. Neither will be used for a homesite nor can they be due to their designation as a park or such.


Thanks for the article, you mentioned the Talaris sight, have there been any discussions towards purchasing it?


It was sold a year ago or so, I believe. It’s going to be a series of expensive single family homes.


Yeah Quadrant Homes bought it. I was hoping there’d been activism or movement by the council to reappraise it being developed single-family. Incomprehensible that a 15 acre undeveloped parcel is being subdivided for single family given current needs. Also seems a much easier political lift since the local neighborhood would be gaining park space with multi-family development instead of 60+ McMansions.


Great job on putting it all together. We need to raise taxes on the private courses but realistically changing the land use on them is a stretch like my ideas for a gondola in west seattle/white center and tearing down I-5 through seattle.

Chris Shotwell

Ronp, I would argue that if the property assessments were raised to fair market value, the taxes may put such a financial strain on the clubs that they would be forced to sell. $37k a year is a drop in the bucket; $750k is not. With roughly 260 households in Broadmoor, this would work out to almost $3,000 a year in extra fees for each household in Broadmoor, assuming fees are spread evenly amount golfers and non-golfers (unlikely). The question is, would they pay it or balk? It’s a pretty wealthy neighborhood so it’s hard to say. But they wouldn’t be happy.

Since the residents living on the golf course would not want new homes in their backyards, they may choose to sell to the city to convert the courses to either park space or public courses. In the case of Broadmoor, expanding the Arboretum would be a logical choice.

Chris Shotwell

Make that 270 households.

Chris Shotwell

I would also add that $750k would represent an increase of over 10% in Broadmoor’s expenses. Last year the course operated with a deficit of about $250k (https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/broadmoor-golf-club,910154990/). Raising the taxes by that amount would potentially put the golf club out of business, especially during a recession.


If folks able to live in Broadmoor are unwilling to pay on the order of $3k/year to support their course, they don’t actually give a fig about golf. $3k is a 100% nothingburger to folks able to afford Broadmoor.


You might be reading this improperly. If you own a home inside a gated community with a private golf course, you are paying taxes. The golf course business itself is paying a different tax rate as it’s a different type of land.

That said, if the golf course was forced to pay the same tax rate as a house, here is the math.

There are roughly 500 members of the average private club. That’s $1,500/year or $120 a month in added taxes. If they had to pay it, they would.

Would that extra money finally build affordable housing or clean up the parks currently overrun by the bums and drug addicts? No… It would be wasted in the laughably inefficient world of Seattle bureaucracy.

I just read a great story on geekwire about a huge facility that recently opened in the Mt. Baker neighborhood that helps get homeless people a place to live and then back on their feet. Built by the city?? Nope… Paul Allen. The guy is dead and is still more productive than the city of Seattle.


Yeah, exactly. I could easily see a mix, which is ideal from a public housing perspective. Some nice town houses (for sale) and a few apartments, along with a publicly available park. That way you have more economic diversity in the neighborhood.


There is already a publicly available park next to Broadmoor. It is The Arboretum, and the public received 230 acres in donation for The Arboretum from Puget Mill Co., the very company that originally developed Broadmoor. The donation was done concurrent with the original development of Broadmoor.