CLIFTON PARK, N.Y — A revised design to transform the Edison Club will reduce the number of holes from an earlier proposal, increase the number of residential units, build a new clubhouse and convert the present one into a senior care facility.
The plans for the 287-acre club were submitted to the town Planning Department last month. The new proposal follows one submitted to the town in the fall of 2017.
At a presentation for the original plan as to why the historic private club was seeking to change its long-familiar operation, manager Craig McLean said the club is in the same situation as many other local and national private golf clubs, it no longer has enough members to support its ongoing costs.
Documents submitted at the time noted lifestyle changes, tax code changes, a decline in private golf demand, and an overbuilt inventory of local golf courses as factors in its decision. The club was established in 1926 and offers members and their guests swimming, tennis and banquet facilities in addition to golf.
The earlier design sought to reduce the number of holes for golfers from 27 to 20. The new plans reduce it further to 18 holes in play and two for practice. New fairways would be constructed for holes numbered one, eight, nine, 10, 17 and 18. An existing driving range would be kept.
The initial plans called for a total of 206 residential units; 60 single family homes, 30 twin homes, 44 “living” units in 11 residential buildings and 72 condominiums. The new design has a total of 215 living units; 45 single family homes, 17 duplex buildings, and 136 condos in eight-unit and four-unit buildings.
The single-family homes are to be built on small lots averaging 10,000-square-feet or large lots averaging 15,000-square-feet. Duplexes would be built on 15,000-square-foot lots.
The residential lots are proposed for the eastern side of the golf club’s property fronting Route 146 (Balltown Road). A curb cut from the road would allow vehicular access to the residential units.
The present clubhouse is to remain on site and would be converted to a 60 bed enhanced senior care facility.
A new clubhouse is to be built with “recreational amenities”. A practice green, practice tee, and short game practice area are also part of the plan. The project includes modifying the existing swimming pool area, constructing two tennis courts and two pickleball courts, as well as building a new parking area.
The recreational area in the new plan is 203 acres. Residential living would take up 80 acres, the senior care facility would occupy three acres, and the club has agreed to convey one acre to the adjacent Stewart’s Shop on Riverview Road.
According to the latest narrative, approximately 70 percent of the site’s acreage is to remain for golf. A vegetative buffer will be preserved for those areas fronting existing two busy roads along the eastern and southern boundaries as visual screening and the existing parking area seen from Riverview Road will be converted to green space.
The narrative states, “the existing use of the site as a golf course provides an open space character of the land when viewed from adjoining roadways and properties. The project will not substantially alter this condition.”
At the presentation in 2017, McLean told the board that changing demographics and approaches to leisure have impacted golf courses across the country and the Edison Club is no different. Golfers no longer have the time to spend a full day at the club as in years past, he said at the earlier presentation. There are many demands on their time.
“We need more revenue streams,” McLean said at the 2017 Town Board meeting. “We need to diversify. It’s not like the Edison Club will go out of business if we can’t do this. We just won’t be as vibrant. We will struggle.”
The club is seeking to get approval from the Town Board to allow the desired changes as amendments to its original Planned Unit Development legislation.