Highlands to demolish, build new clubhouse; planners approve ‘Cottages’ revision

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

The Highland’s clubhouse will not be getting a facelift — it will undergo a full facial.

Richard Martini presented a proposal to the Bridgton Planning Board Tuesday night to demolish the existing 1926 building and replace it with a new clubhouse.

One of 18 owners of Bridgton Highlands Country Club, Martini told planners that the existing clubhouse has serious structural integrity questions, as well as not meeting today’s accessibility requirements.

“After much study of the existing facility, it was determined that the existing clubhouse can no longer fulfill its intended purpose and could not reasonably be maintained or upgraded to meet current needs or current building codes,” wrote club president, James Cossey. “The new facility is designed to be ADA compliant throughout all public spaces and energy-efficient per new building codes.”

Cossey wrote that demolition and construction would commence as soon as possible with the opening of the new clubhouse planned for spring of 2017.

The new clubhouse would be similar in size (2,888 square feet ground floor), include an outside covered three-season porch (1,080 square feet) and would be situated where the current structure stands. The new building would include a pro shop, kitchen, inside and outside dining area and bathrooms.

Cossey noted that the dining areas have been expanded with the “intent of hosting charity golf tournaments and other social and community events.”

There would be no change in the septic system since the current one has the “capacity to serve the new building,” Martini said. Code Enforcement Officer Robbie Baker concurred, pointing out that the system is “fairly large.”

Baker had some concerns regarding the kitchen area. Martini pointed out that the Highlands is moving away from certain food items (those needing to be fried) that would require a “commercial” kitchen setting. Instead, the clubhouse will focus on offering salads and sandwiches.

Exterior lighting would be controlled by motions sensors.

Unlike the existing building, the new clubhouse would not utilize the second floor. However, a small office could be developed in the basement. Interim Fire Chief Todd Perreault and Baker noted that if an office is situated in the basement, code calls for it to be placed a certain distance from the stairway.

Abutter Sharon Abbott questioned the location of a property line (located to the left of the site), as well as seeking clarification on whether a cart-cleaning area would be developed.

Martini described the property line in question a “vague” area, and would provide Abbott with more information once owners receive it. The line, however, did not figure in the building project approval process since the new structure is positioned significantly away from that outer border.

As for the cart-cleaning area, Martini said the idea was considered, but not included in the proposal. If the idea is revisited later on, abutters would be notified, Martini added, noting that the golf course wants to be a “good neighbor.”

Applying a laundry list of standards, planners gave approval to the project with stipulations that plumbing meet state code and a financial statement be submitted demonstrating that developers have the means to build the clubhouse.

Planners felt no need to hold a site walk or a public hearing on the proposed project.

In other action, planners also gave tentative approval for a revision to The Cottages at Willett Road project.

Engineer George Sawyer represented Criterian Development regarding the revision of some lot sizes to the South High Street subdivision.

The originally-approved project consists of six pods with 10 lots per pod. Sawyer explained that while two of the pods are nearly “built out,” the developer wishes to reduce the number of lots (total reduction of eight).

“This would allow construction of slightly different buildings than originally planned,” Sawyer said. The new plan is to eliminate common storage/garage areas and allow each unit to have its own garages. Sawyer noted there are no other scheduled changes to C, D, E and Journey’s Path, either in roads, septic, drainage or water systems — just property lines will be somewhat redrawn.

Planner Dee Miller commended developers for adjusting the project to fit current consumer desires.

Code Enforcement Officer Robbie Baker did note that a retention pond had yet to be constructed, and asked that the conditional approval include stipulation that the pond be built by this fall.

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