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ZBA puts Country Club housing on hold: Proponents and opposition leaders requested delay

As expected, the Zoning Board of Appeals delayed a hearing on the Gardiner’s Bay Country Club application for a special permit to have staff housing constructed on its site. Those who favored the project and those who opposed it had sought delays.

The opposition, led by attorney and club neighbor Jim Lynch, had filed a request for a 90-day delay, while club leaders who favored the project wanted a similar 90-day delay.

The ZBA set Sept. 22 for a hearing on the project.

In a telephone interview, Club Board of Directors President Doug Sandberg explained that several of the issues the opposition raised needed more study. Last week, the Board of Directors voted to “pause” and look at various issues.

Whether the application pending with the ZBA will remain as is or amended remains to be seen, Mr. Sandberg said.

Initially, the opposition focused on whether the size of the housing project was beyond what would be needed. Some suggested the proposed housing wasn’t for staff, but for members who aren’t Island residents, but might want to stay overnight at times and need housing to accommodate them. Mr. Sandberg denied that was ever a part of the plan.

Other early objections were that the site would place housing a short distance from the golf course’s second hole and require a new road  on the property. But the most critical issue arose in the past week over water quality and quantity. Mr. Lynch had said from the beginning that could be a problem.

A May 7 letter on stationary from the Hay Beach Property Owners Association to that area’s property owners said the two buildings the club envisioned would create housing for 64 people and have 29 bathrooms.

The Property Owners Association said the plans for the housing have been underway for more than a year, but notice to neighbors was sent only at the beginning of May.

“The Hay Beach Property Owners Association has concerns as to the environmental impact of a development of this size,” the letter stated. Among the concerns is “the impact to our water table, septic run-off into the surrounding waters, increased traffic and noise.

The area is zoned AA residential.

Bob Kohn, a new member of the town’s Community Housing Board, raised questions about water quality and quantity at the May 27 Community Housing Board meeting.

Mr. Kohn pointed to a town-commissioned report from the United States Geological Survey from 2019 that had identified the site planned for the housing as one of the critical places on the Island where the nitrogen content in water is high.  Mr. Kohn wanted to discuss the issue at the Community Housing Board meeting and to ask the Water Advisory Committee to look into the issue before any construction of housing at the club could begin.

Mr. Sandberg told the Reporter it’s too early to determine if his board would propose moving the housing to another area of the property.