Eagle Crest Golf Club may be replaced with housing development

CADY KUZMICH/GAZETTE REPORTER
Sights from Eagle Crest Golf Club on Route 146A in Clifton Park on Jan. 8, 2016. The golf club may soon be replaced by a housing development if a proposed amendment to the site's existing Planned Unit Development is approved.CADY KUZMICH/GAZETTE REPORTER Sights from Eagle Crest Golf Club on Route 146A in Clifton Park on Jan. 8, 2016. The golf club may soon be replaced by a housing development if a proposed amendment to the site's existing Planned Unit Development is approved.

BY CADY KUZMICH
GAZETTE REPORTER

CLIFTON PARK — The Eagle Crest Golf Club on Route 146A has been a permanent fixture in Clifton Park since 1963. Now, 53 years after its founding, the golf club’s general manager William Paulsen hopes to transform the site into a housing development.

Paulsen, who has managed the golf course since 1991, submitted an application requesting an amendment to the property’s existing Planned Unit Development (PUD) to the town of Clifton Park on New Year’s Eve, proposing to transform the site into a housing development.

The application includes plans for 170 single family homes — 90 10,000 square foot carriage house lots and 80 13,000 square foot traditional home building lots. The application also calls for over 80 acres of open common space and designates nearly 60 acres for a town park.

The residential area would take up just 32 percent of the 206 acre property, leaving the other 68 percent for recreational space and a new town park. The application outlines plans to create a trail system with picnic areas, as well. According to the application, Paulsen intends to develop around the property’s existing trees, including some impressive willow trees, instead of cutting them down.

A universally suffering golf industry and a greying population in the area prompted Paulsen’s decision to submit a request for an amendment.

According to the National Golf Foundation, 174 18-hole golf courses permanently closed in 2014 while just 11 opened. 85 million fewer rounds of golf were played last year according to the PUD application.

Just over 20 percent of Clifton Park’s population was 55 years old or older in 2000. The application outlines how that demographic is expected to make up nearly 34 percent of the population by 2020.

Paulsen kept this trend in mind when considering the residential development. Empty nesters, he believes, want “maintenance free living” in the same communities in which they raised their families.

The town board is still reviewing the application. Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett stated, “We are doing our due diligence and research internally, as we do with any application, then we’ll discuss what the process might be from that point.”

Barrett said any speculation regarding the time-frame for the review process would be “premature.”

Gino Turchi originally named the club Northway Heights when he founded it in 1963. The name was later changed to Eagle Crest Golf Club when Paulsen took over management in 1991.

 

 

{Correction: The original version of this story stated Player’s Park mini-golf course was part of Eagle Crest Golf Club. This is incorrect. Player’s Park is separately owned and operated. Player’s Park is expected to open when weather permits in the spring. We apologize for the error.}