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Neighbors condemn golf course plan

Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The Park Meadows Country Club, trying to fund improvements at its golf course, was rebuffed Wednesday night as it approached the Park City Planning Commission with a development plan that a country club official said is wanted to generate money for the work.

Blake Fisher, the president of the board of directors of the country club, encountered widespread opposition this week from neighbors as the country club brought its idea to the Planning Commission to develop houses and condominiums on land that is currently set aside as open space.

The money that the country club would raise from the development could then be put into the golf course improvements like upgrading the drainage and irrigation systems, the country club says.

The Planning Commission on Wednesday held a hearing regarding the proposal that drew neighbors dismayed with the country club’s development plans. The neighbors generally condemned the idea, saying that they want the land to remain as open space.

Commissioners were not scheduled to cast a vote on Wednesday but several indicated that they did not like the idea. Fisher said in an interview afterward he is unsure how the country club will proceed.

The country club is seeking a zoning change on the property from its current open-space designation to a zone that allows development.

According to a report submitted to the Planning Commission beforehand, the country club wants an OK for between two and four single-family homes on Estates Drive and 10 to 12 condominiums on land near the northeast corner of Four Lakes, next to a golf course maintenance facility.

In an interview after the meeting, Fisher said he expects to report the results of the meeting to the country club’s board of directors at a meeting within a month. He says he cannot predict whether the country club will scrap the plans and that the board of directors will decide how to proceed.

"Whether we pursue this any further, I’m not sure," Fisher said, adding, "If it looks like people continue to oppose this, we really don’t want to make our neighbors mad."

Fisher estimates that the golf course needs between $4 million and $5 million in improvements. The development, he says, could raise between $2 million and $4 million.

He says he is surprised by the amount of opposition and pledges that the country club wants peace with the neighbors.

"Park Meadows has a strong desire to be part of the community, part of the neighborhood," Fisher says.

During the Planning Commission hearing and in letters submitted to City Hall beforehand, the neighbors were disappointed with the country club’s plans, saying that they moved into the neighborhood with the understanding that the land was zoned for open space, that such a decision would set a precedent and that property values and views could be hurt.

"Let’s keep our open space," Nancy Mintz, who lives on Estates Drive, said during the hearing. "That’s what Park City is all about."

In an e-mail released by City Hall, Jeff and DeAnn Crouthamel, part-time neighbors, made a similar argument.

"I am not in favor of the rezoning of open space to allow homes or condos to be built," the e-mail says. "I feel we need to push to preserve the open space that is presently on the golf course and if this variance is allowed, who knows what other areas the Golf Club would intend to rezone or sell off."

There was a smattering of support during the hearing, including one person who told the Planning Commissioners that the improvements to the golf course would boost property values in the neighborhood.

Planning Commissioners have doubts about the application. Charlie Wintzer, a Planning Commissioner, for instance, said during the meeting that neighbors paid for views of open space and that changing the zoning would not benefit the community.

Brook Robinson, the City Hall planner assigned to the project, said on Friday that the Planning Commission is not scheduled consider the project again.


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