NAPLES — The developer looking to convert the front nine of the now-closed Naples Golf and Country Club into a residential housing sub-development presented preliminary plans to the Planning Board Tuesday night.
The March 5 meeting featured an overview of the currently titled Brandy Pond Crossing project.
Mark Hollis, of development company Great Lots of Maine, is hoping to move forward with the sub-development on the shore on Brandy Pond under an entity named The Homes on the Front 9, LLC.
Hollis said he has engaged the course neighbors, noting that their input is critical and acknowledging that he couldn’t say they are 100 percent behind the proposal.
“Would they like to see the golf course stay? Of course they would,” he said after the meeting.
Hollis also said he hopes the back nine, which is not part of the planned sub-development, will continue as a golf course.
The tentative sketch of the project includes 16 residential lots on the existing front nine of the golf course, along with several common lots within the development and an update and lengthening to the existing Fairway Drive roadway that accesses several existing houses along the golf course. Two common docks on Brandy Pond with a total of 17 boats are also planned.
Planning Board Chairman Larry Anton stressed during the meeting that the board has not yet received an actual application for the project yet, that Tuesday night’s meeting was an “informal discussion” to review a preliminary sketch plan and that the board would not be taking questions from the audience that evening.
“There’s nothing applied for yet,” Anton said, explaining the Planning Board’s role in the process. “If someone wants to develop a piece of property, that’s their right. We can’t stop them. So if you’re here to say ‘no, we don’t want this to happen,’ well, we don’t have that power to say no.”
Anton noted that the board does have the power to make sure any proposal complies with town ordinances and follows the comprehensive plan.
Anton said after the meeting that people in town “are upset about the golf course closing” but that “you can’t force someone to be civic-minded.”
Naples Selectboard Chairman Jim Grattelo was in the audience Tuesday night and noted that both he an Anton have received “a lot of phone calls” about the proposal.
Grattelo asked what the procedure will be for the public to weigh in on what he called “an extremely emotional issue for the town.”
Anton said that once the board receives an application, the town will advertise, notify abutters, and hold a public hearing.
Hollis said after the meeting that it could take several months before he’s ready to submit a formal application to the town.
Board members had several questions about the project Tuesday night.
Anton and Hollis had a back and forth conversation about the proposed docks on Brandy Pond, and indicated that they might need legal advice to better understand if Hollis’ proposed dock system would be permissible within town ordinances.
Planning Board Member Barbara Adlard, who said she lives on Brandy Pond, raised concerns about the health of the water body and the potential impact of development close to it.
In response to a question of access to the sub-development off of Route 114, Hollis also said he was alerted by his engineer Tuesday that the project would require a second egress off to the road given the size of the proposed development.
Hollis also told Anton he anticipated that many of the potential homeowners within the subdivision could be seasonal residents from out of state. Anton stressed it would be important to understand what potential impact the project could have on school costs if year-round families with school-aged children moved in.
Anton said that the board will likely turn to the Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District for consultation on the proposal moving forward, a process he described as typical with projects of this size and complexity. He said that the applicant would be responsible for the consultation costs.
Allen Faraday, the president and treasurer of the country club’s board of directors, said the board has signed off on the sale. Last week he said that the club was not considering development of the back nine holes until the front nine is completed.
Faraday was in the audience Tuesday night, and said afterward that some of the front nine property has already been purchased from the country club by its chairman and largest shareholder, Richard Dyke.
Dyke, who is also the chairman and CEO of Windham Weaponry, has purchased the lots through a company called Naples Causeway Development and is slated to purchase a few more according to Faraday.
Anton asked Hollis to make it clearer on the proposed sub-development plan which lots would be part of his development and which lots will remain with the club or other entities.
A December press release announced that the Naples Golf and Country Club shareholders had decided to close the course and sell the club’s assets. That press release also said that the stakeholders rejected a private offer to purchase the entire course, which was founded in 1921 as a nine-hole course and expanded to 18 holes in 2000.
Hollis said in an interview last week that his purchase of the property is contingent on securing the necessary local, state and federal approvals for the project.
Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.
A sketch of the proposed Brandy Pond Crossing subdivision that developer Mark Hollis hopes to create on the front nine of now-closed Naples Golf and Country Club.