A proposed miniature golf course at Heritage Hills in Somers has some residents teed off about how it could affect the quality of life in the condominium community.
The Somers National Golf Club, operators of an 18-hole golf course at Heritage Hills with more than 200 members, is looking to construct an 18-hole miniature golf course, along with up to four golf simulators and a cigar bar on less than two acres on West Hill Drive South.
Golf Club part-owner Quintin Lew appeared at a Somers Planning Board meeting last month to address some concerns that have been raised by Heritage Hills Society Board members, condo association leaders and other residents, ranging from decreased property values and environmental issues to increased traffic from visitors who would frequent the new attractions.
“We are very respectful of neighbors and keenly aware of opposition to our plans,” Lew told planners. “The key to success is building a beautiful course that is interesting and fun to play with just enough to challenge the guests who want to come again.”
Lew emphasized the mini-golf course, being designed by Harris Miniature Golf Courses Inc., of Pennsylvania, which has built more than 800 courses throughout the world, would offer “eye-catching” water features and landscaping and would “appeal to residents of all demographics and ages.”
“This will not be an amusement park version of a miniature golf course, or carnival-themed,” Lew said, adding historical elements of the Town of Somers and Heritage Hills would be incorporated into its design.
Richard Williams, a civil engineer for the project, said the proposed construction would provide less disturbance than an outdoor swimming pool, two tennis courts and a cabana that were approved by the Planning Board for the same site in 2017 but never bult.
“This will not be dinosaurs and pirate ships. It’s very low key,” Williams said of the mini-golf course.
Lew estimated 30 to 40% of users of the mini-golf course and golf simulators would be from Heritage Hills. He said 25 to 35% of members of the Somers National Golf Club reside at Heritage Hills.
Planners Bruce Prince and Jack Mattes, who also sits on the Heritage Hills Society Board, said the board needs further clarification from town officials if the proposed uses in the application are permitted under Town Code.
Mattes suggested to Lew to consider making the golf simulators and cigar bar a separate application from the mini-golf course since there appears to be less opposition to those uses.
Once the board receives all the information it needs, a public hearing will be set at a venue other than the Somers Townhouse since a large audience is expected.