CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — With little fanfare, the Town Board has approved a request from the Board of Trustees of the Edison Club to reduce the amount of land used for golfing, rearrange the sequence of the remaining golf holes, and build housing on the land.
The proposal must now go through the Planning Board for review.
The vote allowing the change was 4-0 in favor with one abstention. Newly appointed Town Councilman Anthony Morelli abstained from the vote. Prior to his board appointment, Morelli was counsel to the town Planning Board where the plan had been previously reviewed. The Town Board vote was taken at the Oct. 5 board meeting.
The 287-acre club at 891 Riverview Rd. in Rexford is near the intersection of Riverview Road and Balltown Road. In addition to 27 holes of golf, it offers members and their guests, swimming, tennis, and dining facilities.
The club was founded in 1904 and has had a visible presence in the Rexford community since the course was laid out in 1926.
Due to declining membership club leadership sought to change the legislation in the original 1999 PDD to allow for a bundled community of single-family homes, townhouses, and condos whose owners have memberships in the club. The total number of housing units that will be allowed has been set at a maximum of 215 units.
In addition to the rearrangement of the golfing holes, the club will sell the iconic clubhouse to a senior care provider that will restore the building for a variety of senior care living arrangements.
The club will get a new clubhouse with a fitness room, a new pool, and new tennis and pickleball courts. As part of the new legislation, the 183 acres of land left for golf will have a permanent conservation easement placed on it which will eliminate any chance of it being developed in the future for a use other than recreation or open space.
As part of the changes the Edison Club also will sell approximately one acre of land to Stewart’s Shops. The company intends to use the land to replace the present store at the corner of Riverview Road and Balltown Road.
At a public hearing last month the Town Board heard comments from many who supported the requested changes; most having ties to the club. The board also heard comments in opposition from local environmentalists.
As they had when the proposal originally appeared before the Planning Board for conceptual review, the opponents of the plan asked why the private club was not being held to the same standards stated in the Conservation Residential Zoning designation created by the town after its Western Generic Environmental Study.
Had the town done so, the opposition speakers said the maximum number of living units allowed would have been set at 94 or 95 units. Had the club wanted more, the club or the builder would have been required to pay the town an open space incentive zoning fee of either three acres or $30,000, per additional residential unit desired.
In a letter to all Town Board members, the Friends of Clifton Park Open Space noted, “If this precedent proves to be a business model for other such properties in western Clifton Park, then it would best serve the town to approve changes only in line with existing CR zoning.”