March 30, 2014

In dry dock: Arlington and yacht club spar over lease

The fate of the Arlington Yacht Club is adrift because of a dispute with the city over its lease agreement at Lake Arlington.

The fate of the Arlington Yacht Club is adrift because of a dispute with the city over its lease agreement at Lake Arlington.

The yacht club, which has leased space at Richard Simpson Park since the 1970s, sued the city last week seeking temporary and permanent injunctions after receiving a notice to vacate the property by today.

But a last-minute agreement between city officials and club members to postpone action until April 14 will allow the club to stay put. The city and the group have been involved in a dispute since last year.

Frank Hill, the attorney representing the yacht club, said a mistake has been made in interpreting the lease agreement. He said that the yacht club submitted written notices to extend the lease and that Arlington never responded.

“I think my client can convince the city that it was mistaken,” Hill said.

Robert Fugate, an assistant city attorney, said that he is aware of the lawsuit and that it centers on renewal notices. He said the yacht club is required to give a six-month notice to renew the lease, which was not done.

“We are not going to cut off their water or lock them out of their facility,” he said. “The issue is lease renewal.”

The lease was modified in 2006 with three-year terms that are subject to renewal, Fugate said.

According to the lawsuit, when the lease was renewed in 2006, there was a mistake in the agreement that set the renewal date at the end of March 2008 when it should have been March 2009.

The yacht club notified the city of the mistake as well as its intention to renew. Then, the yacht club contends, the city did not respond. The club also submitted a renewal notice in 2012 and didn’t get a response, the lawsuit says.

Yacht club members have made many improvements, including floating and fixed docks, a two-lane boat ramp, a garage and clubhouse bathrooms, the lawsuit says.

Jack Hattendorf, a longtime yacht club member, declined to comment in an email to the Star-Telegram.

But Hattendorf told the Star-Telegram previously that the club has been a fixture in his family’s life and that he has many friends as a result.

For generations, the yacht club has offered inexpensive memberships for people who wanted to enjoy sailing and camaraderie on Lake Arlington.

The city has a master plan to improve the property that is leased by the club, which includes building a new lake facility, pavilions and a trail system.

City officials have said that the building that houses the yacht club was built before city codes were updated, and that repairing the heating and air conditioning and removing asbestos would be too costly.

But the yacht club has told the city that it wants to help with the park improvements.

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