CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — Representatives for the Edison Club have submitted revised plans to modify the longtime golf and tennis club and reduce the amount of land used for golfing.
They will present those plans to the community at a public hearing scheduled for Sept. 21.
Officials from the Club presented the latest revisions to the Town Board at the Aug. 17 meeting.
The club has been seeking approval to modify its original 1999 Planned Development District legislation for three years. After two appearances before the Town Board and one before the Planning Board, next month’s public hearing will be the first opportunity the public has had to give input on the proposed changes.
In their initial appearance before the Town Board in December 2017 club officials sought approval to reduce the number of golf holes, build housing units on part of the land, and do something with the club’s aging clubhouse. A preliminary proposal suggested demolition.
The reason given for making the request was a changing culture that has made the country club lifestyle obsolete. Though the plans have seen several revisions, including the one presented last week, the reason given for making the original request has not changed.
The 205-acre club is in Rexford 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. Documents submitted with the initial modification plans noted lifestyle changes, tax code changes, a decline in private golf demand, and an overbuilt inventory of local golf courses as factors in the club’s decision.
At the initial presentation in 2017, a representative of the club described how declining membership and increasing expenditures were putting pressure on its membership. Club representative Chick Cairo told the board last week that in recent years the number of members has continued its steadily decline.
“In our peak days in the 1990s we had 530 golfing members,” he said. “We currently have a total of 430 members of which 100 are strictly pool and tennis members. Only 330 (members) are golfing members. It’s tough to go from 530 to 330 members and still support 27 holes of golf.”
The club is seeking approval to build a “bundle community” on land now used for golf.
The latest revisions include three changes from earlier plans. The Club has a buyer for the clubhouse who will transform it into a senior care facility, Stewart’s Shops will purchase approximately an acre of land for its Rexford store, and the types of housing and the numbers of differing styles has changed.
The maximum number of units to be allowed per a Planning Board recommendation remains at 215. Cairo said there will be a mix of large and small single family units, five, five-unit buildings and a maximum of eight, eight-unit buildings. He requested the eight-unit buildings be allowed flexibility based on market forces. If approved the housing would be built in phases.
Also included in the requested amendment to the PDD is a stipulation that there be a permanent conservation easement placed on the land used for the remaining 18 holes of golf.
“We are committed to having an 18-hole golf course in perpetuity,” Cairo said.
However, though the permanent conservation easement eliminates the land from ever being developed, it does not require that there be golf holes on it forever.
“It is now zoned C-R (Conservation-Residential) but if that zoning changes, and zoning does change, this easement will provide an extra layer of protection,” said Planning Director John Scavo. “It transcends any zoning changes.”
Should the land not remain as 18 manicured golf holes, town attorney Tom McCarthy said the desire is that it be green space as a first choice and recreational land second.
“The Club was founded in 1904,” Cairo said. “We celebrated our 100th anniversary in 2004. We’re hoping by the changes we’re making and the things we’re doing some future generations will be able to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Edison Club in 2104.”