The Village of East Williston postponed the continuation of a public hearing on the Wheatley Hills Golf Club’s plan to renovate employee living quarters for a second time, last week. According to village officials, Wheatley Hills informed the village of a change to their renovation plans a few days prior to the hearing scheduled for March 31, which were submitted for the village’s review, and will now require a variance from the East Williston board of zoning appeals.
“The golf club is continuing to modify or lessen their request,” East Williston Deputy Mayor Bonnie Parente said.
Wheatley Hills is now just looking to do a renovation in the existing space, Parente said. This is in contrast to a previous plan, which included a $500,000 plan to build a 12-bedroom, one-story slate-roof building for its staff.
The golf club now plans to renovate the first floor dwellings. Wheatley Hills will construct a “spacious level” with eight bedrooms.
The exterior of the building will have some renovations, like a new entry porch, new stone base to match the existing stone and new stucco veneer to match the existing stucco veneer. The existing slate room will remain the same.
“It’s a good thing for residents because the golf club is hearing them and making modifications,” Parente said. “They’re only touching square-footage in an existing portion of the premises that is being used for the conditional purpose.”
Village Building Inspector Bob Campagna was not available for comment on the submitted change and a rescheduled date has not yet been announced.
Public hearings were held in November and December of last year, and the first scheduled continuation was canceled in February due to a slew of snowstorms. At the December meeting, Wheatley Hills presented the first revised apartment plan to the village, which eliminated a previous strategy to build 12-bedrooms and an underground parking garage.
The previous plan, which was presented by Kevin Walsh, attorney for Wheatley Golf Course with the firm Walsh Markus McDougal & DeBellis, LLP Walsh in November to the village zoning board, was to extend the building slightly over 3,000 square feet.
Walsh said that the club currently has between 12 and 15 employees living in the club, some seasonal and all male, and three of the employees live in the main building above the golf course ladies locker room.
If female employees joined the staff, Wheatley Hills Golf Club President Anthony Carillo said that accommodations would be made, and that the space above the ladies locker room in the main building will be converted to either a lunch room for staff or offices.
Village residents have expressed opposition to the application on the basis of potential undesired traffic, concerns over noise from the club involving leaf blowers, and a “Motel 6” feel to the area, which Walsh had stated in December that the updated proposal attempts to rectify.
“If you look at some of the designs, it looks like a glorified Motel 6,” resident Kathy Rittel said at a November zoning board meeting. “I sit in my living room at night, I see lights on at the golf course and I’m curious to find out when that was permissible.”
East Williston Mayor David Tanner left the December hearing by saying the village is analyzing the plans, which include employee records, indications of any prior code violations, background check information and more specific information on planned storage space.
—Rich Forestano contributed to this report