Round two for golf lodge proposal

Wold back before Town Board with new location on Sumac Road near County E after earlier setback
by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Developer Chris Wold is hoping for a better outcome on his second round with a proposed golf lodge.

He was before the Plymouth Town Board Tuesday with a new location for his proposal, after his original site on County S failed last month when the board declined to rezone that property in the face of protests from potential neighbors.

“The process before led me to believe it is a sound idea, but that the property on (County) S wasn’t the right fit,” Wold told board members.

He is planning to create a golf lodge, where groups of golfers can stay and play mini-tournaments on the area’s championship caliber golf courses, including Blackwolf Run, Whistling Straits and The Bull, among others.

This time, Wold is negotiating to purchase 11 acres on Sumac Road and County E from Randy and Denise Prange.

The Pranges were at the board meeting to support Wold’s proposal, as well as several other potential neighbors of the proposed new site.

The Pranges are planning to sell a portion of their nearly 38-acre parcel where they currently run their excavating and tree farm business from to Wold, while retaining the rest of the land.

“This spot doesn’t seem to present the same challenges as last time,” Wold told the board. “Ultimately the question is do we go after business zoning again or do we go another way?”

Town Attorney Jim Hughes advised that business zoning would be required.

Responding to a question from Wold, Hughes said the town could rewrite its zoning code to allow Wold’s proposal in a different zoning classification, but that it would take time.

“It would take months to do that,” Supervisor Glenn Kruschke agreed. “And you want to move ahead faster than that.”

Hughes told Wold he would have to file a request for rezoning and face another public hearing before the board.

“Although you weren’t successful last time, it doesn’t mean you won’t be this time,” Hughes commented. “It’s common knowledge that it’s difficult to rezone rural property to business, but each case rises and falls on its own merits. It has happened in the town, but much less frequently in the last 10 or 15 years. You will need to convince the board that the use of the land is appropriate even if it is a business.”

Real estate agent Bob Arnold described the land Wold is looking to buy as “just kind of like a little piece of heaven surrounded by trees.”

He said Wold’s property would be surrounded by the Pranges’ land on three sides and would face Sumac Road on the fourth.

“The Pranges are very excited about selling,” Arnold continued, noting that the couple has agreed to serve as consultants for Wold and help finance his project.

Wold said he would look to expand an existing residential structure on the land to accommodate up to 16 guests at a time.

“Randy and I put a lot of years into the land and we don’t want to see it destroyed. We are very much for preserving the land as it is,” Denise Prange told the board.

“I think you’ve overcome one hurdle, you’ve got all your neighbors here to support you,” Kruschke told Wold.

Town Chairman James Lubach noted that the proposed location differs from the earlier location on County S in that it is not surrounded by working farms and other residences.

Lubach reported that he has received complaints from several town residents about neighbors burning non-allowed material in burn barrels.

“You’re not supposed to burn plastic, styrofoam or garbage in burn barrels,” Lubach noted. Only wood and paper are supposed to be burned in them, but burning other materials creates offensive smoke and odors, which might fall under the town’s noxious odor ordinance, he added.

“It’s a common sense thing,” Supervisor Gene Blindauer said. “You’ve got to tend the fire. As long as you tend the fire, it’s not a problem. When you light it up and let it sit, there’s when the problem (with smoke) comes.”

In other business, the board approved the purchase of a new refrigerator for the Town Hall building.

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