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City not responsible for rescuing a business by changing zoning
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Editor, Ceres Courier,

As I read your article regarding River Oaks Golf Course (Dec 31 2013) I came away a bit confused. The last two paragraphs would leave one to believe there are no easy solutions for a business that is no longer generating a profit. You suggest that Mr. Phipps has only two options, sell the property or operate at a loss.

When someone puts Business Capital (personal, borrowed, or inherited) into a venture it does not guarantee there will be a profit. As I recall that is why it is called "at risk."

If one chooses to be in business, there are always economic changes that occur which require viable changes to your operation or you will lose market share and profit. Business and Eeconomic downturns always have occurred. If a business venture cannot adapt to these changes it will die.

If the River Oaks Golf Course is unable to turn a profit it can close its doors or be sold within the existing parameters of the existing zoning codes and General Plan of the city of Ceres.

My understanding of the free marketplace is that businesses that are losing money and headed toward bankruptcy have options that must and do take place. The business may voluntarily sell the "business" to a party that is willing to operate the "business" with new ideas and changes to that business. An ideal solution for sure, but not always likely. Or, involuntarily declare bankruptcy or face foreclosure sale due to the indebtedness of the venture. This is a very common occurrence during economic downturns.

Either way, it is not the city of Ceres' responsibility to "rescue" a failing business venture by abandoning existing zoning codes or changing its General Plan. The purpose of such ordinances are for the orderly protection of neighboring property owners, all citizens of the city of Ceres, as well as the environment from being taken advantage of by a corporation or individual.

In any case, someone will eventually take possession of the property (voluntarily or involuntarily) and will have the option to run the existing entity.

I realize that you tried to draw a comparison to the River Oaks Golf Course to various other recreational ventures that closed their doors. Drawing a comparison to these local situations does not explore the other recreational ventures outside of our area that have faced bankruptcy and survived to operate again at a profit.

I, for one, would mourn the loss of a venture that has great potential for the recreational future of future generations here in Ceres.

Again, the main point of this letter is that the city of Ceres is not responsible for "rescuing" a business by spot changes to its General Plan or changing zoning codes to accommodate an individual or corporation.

William J. Gray,

LETTERS POLICY: Letters to the editor will be considered for publication but must be signed with the author's name, address and telephone number. Letters should contain 250 words or less and be void of libelous statements. Letters may be sent to The Ceres Courier, 138 S. Center Street, Turlock CA 95380 or emailed to