Change in Watertown zoning throws golf course into question

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 4:25 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A proposed change to the City of Watertown’s zoning laws may endanger the Watertown Golf Club.

The change would take land now designated as “residential” - meaning homes can be built on it - and re-designate it as “open space,” meaning homes could not be built.

That would quash the plans of Mike Lundy, the majority owner of the Watertown Golf Club, who says he planned to build housing on land the club owns near the golf course.

“I’m totally shocked and disappointed at the city’s proposed zone change of the Watertown Golf Club from residential to open park space. If this change is approved, it will have a substantial impact on the future of the Watertown Golf Club,” Lundy said in a statement to 7 News.

Lundy’s statement comes just six months after Lundy appeared to pressure the city, writing “The property owned by Watertown Golf Club has many other potential uses that are both legal and valuable, most of which would not be appealing to the master plan of Thompson Park.”

City planner Mike Lumbis says the proposed zoning change is in line with the city’s adopted Comprehensive Plan, which includes the Thompson Park Master Plan. He says that’s why the change is being proposed.

Council member Cliff Olney says at the time the Comprehensive Plan was developed, Lundy wasn’t a major shareholder.

“I can certainly understand how anybody in the city that has concerns about how this changes their properties title will have concerns. They’ll have the opportunity to voice those concerns so we can address them,” Olney said.

But Council member Lisa Ruggiero, who says she doesn’t believe the committee that revised the city’s zoning laws meant any ill intent on Lundy, nonetheless agrees with his frustration.

“I know it’s been his intention to potentially develop it into some type of residential housing at some point, and he should be free to use his land the way it was intended for,” Ruggiero said.

The proposed changes in the city’s zoning laws are posted on the city’s web site. To read the zoning plan, and comment on it, go here.

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