Andover residents were motivated to buy their homes for the premium value of living on a golf course. Now they are being held hostage to an ongoing legal battle between Whitaker Bank and the Andover developers. Meanwhile, the golf course is not being properly managed or maintained. Residents fear the legal stalemate will cause home values to plummet.
A restriction on golf-course land prohibits development and mandates that it remain a golf course. The developers have asserted their first-refusal rights against sales that do not conform to the restriction.
Whitaker Bank bought the golf course at the foreclosure sale. Then it attempted to circumvent the restriction and sell at a high price to a buyer with development intentions. Thereafter, the developers brought a legal action to bar this sale.
It is difficult to sympathize with the bank. In the face of daunting risks, it made a bad loan. Hundreds of Andover residents should not be made to suffer because of this situation. The bank can easily survive a single loan loss. It must make a greater effort to find an acceptable buyer and take the hit ASAP.