Council blamed for golf ‘mess’

The sign for Watertown Golf Club in Watertown. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — All that controversy over encroachments at the Watertown Golf Course in Thompson Park is apparently a thing in the past.

The city’s Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously recommended site plans for improvements at the Watertown Golf Club. All the improvements will be completed on golf club property.

During last fall’s city elections, the matter became a political hot potato after it was discovered that the golf course was encroaching on city parkland, to the chagrin of P.J. Simao, the owner of competitor Ives Hill Country Club.

These improvements remedy the encroachments.

“All the encroachments, as far I know, have been dealt with,” said Michael A. Lumbis, the city’s planning and community development director.

For months, the overflow parking area was the subject of debate between council members, while they also faced the threat of legal action from golf club owner Michael E. Lundy and Mr. Simao, a rival of Mr. Lundy’s.

As a result of the bickering, Mr. Lundy, who could not attend the Planning Board meeting, abandoned his plans to redo an overflow parking area that would be used by club members and the public alike.

Instead, he’s creating a gravel parking lot that will create 50 new spaces that will not encroach on city parkland by creating it on his property and specifically for club members to use.

During the dispute, council members put up a “public parking” sign in June that allowed the public and club members to park there and then reversed their decision and ordered it removed a few months later.

The improvements include a building for an outdoor bar with restrooms, and another structure at the first tee to greet golfers before they begin to play.

The work remedies the following encroachments: demolishing a building where golf carts were stored and building new structure located over the pad of the original pro shop; and completing a septic tank would be completed.

Work will start as soon as the Jefferson County Planning Board recommends the site plan on March 31 and the City Council approves it on April 6.

Mr. Lundy owns holes one through six and 16 to 18 of the course at Thompson Park, while the city owns the other nine holes, with the developer leasing the land on which the remaining holes sit.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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