BusinessThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Somers Golf Club Cigar Bar, Golf Simulators to Move Forward

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Somers residents voiced their concerns last Wednesday about a proposed cigar lounge and four indoor golf simulators planned for Somers National Golf Club at the Heritage Hills condominium complex.

Feedback for the plan was heard at a public hearing held by the Somers Planning Board, which has been reviewing the plans since last year.

The original proposal included an 18-hole miniature golf course, but that portion of the project was withdrawn last month after many Heritage Hills residents objected, saying the mini-golf course would increase traffic and noise that would negatively impact the area.

Linda Whitehead, attorney for Heritage Hills Holdings, the golf club’s owners, reviewed the revised plan at the beginning of the meeting.

“The application now is for renovating the golf cart storage building and small terrace for the cigar lounge,” she explained. “These new amenities are part of the club and golf course and the changes are fairly minimal.”

Condo owner Maureen Nagel, who has lived at Heritage Hills for nearly 25 years, said her apartment was just below the planned cigar bar and was displeased with the proposal.

“I will look out my back window and see the cigar bar right there,” said Nagel. “The patio area will allow smoking outside and the smoke will waft right into my house. Can’t the cigar bar be housed in the building or the country club itself?”

Whitehead said the cigar bar and terrace wouldn’t impact nearby residents.

“The proposed terrace is small, about 431 square feet,” she said. “The terrace is also 300 feet away and 50 feet down. Smoke generally moves up, not down,” she said.

Heritage Hills resident Arthur Singer asked about the hours of the cigar bar and whether liquor could be sold there or brought in from the bar at the golf club.

“The club’s liquor license specifies that consuming alcohol is allowed in specific areas,” Whitehouse said. “Consumption of alcohol is not permitted in the cigar bar.”

The cigar bar would close at 10 p.m. and follow age restrictions for smoking. Because Somers has opted out of having cannabis sold in town, smoking or vaping weed would not be allowed, according to Whitehouse. 

Few questions were asked about the proposed four indoor golf simulators, a high-tech system designed to mimic the sport and allow golfers to practice their swing indoors.

Other issues discussed included how stormwater drainage would be handled from the terrace outside the cigar bar.

“That land where the terrace is located slopes down,” said Planning Board member Bruce Prince. “Do you have plans to improve the storm water drainage on the bottom of the hill?

Project engineer Rich Williams of Insite Engineering said the cigar bar and the terrace were considered small additions.

“We’ve proven through our hydraulic analysis that we’re not increasing flows downstream and we have no plan to improve a system we’re not impacting,” Williams said.

When asked how unsightly cigar butts would be handled, golf club part-owner Quintin Lew gave assurances that they would be cleaned.

“It’s part of our business to keep everything looking nice,” Lew said. “Cigar butts will be disposed of through normal trash.”

Questions by both Heritage Hills residents and board members focused on the cleanup of existing debris on the site, including older landscaping materials and old storage tanks.

“The owners have given you a commitment to clean up (the debris),” said Williams. “And they are currently working in concert with the (town) building department on this.”

After the public hearing was closed, Planning Board Chairman John Currie again addressed the issue of cleaning up the on-site debris.

“We can have a condition of resolution which means that if a condition isn’t taken care of, they won’t get a (Certificate of Occupancy),” he said. “We do have some stop-gap measures to make sure things get done.”

Planning Board member Jack Mattes said he was agreeable to the proposal.

“I’m impressed with what Quinton has promised to do and I feel we should move it forward,” Mattes said.

A resolution is expected to be prepared for a vote at an upcoming meeting.

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