Saratoga County

Hearing could define future of Saratoga National resort plan

The Saratoga Springs City Council will hold a public hearing Sept. 15 on the proposed redefinition o

The Saratoga Springs City Council will hold a public hearing Sept. 15 on the proposed redefinition of a golf course “clubhouse” that could clear the way for a controversial hotel-resort to be built at the Saratoga National Golf Course on the city’s East Side.

City Accounts Commissioner John Franck, who has spoken in favor of the resort plan, announced the hearing will be held at 6:45 p.m. in City Hall, just prior to the next City Council meeting. He said he would like to see a vote taken that night.

A split city Planning Board voted Aug. 12 to recommend the City Council approve the changed definition, which would allow the 18-hole golf course on outer Union Avenue to go forward with plans for a destination resort with conference center.

The term “clubhouse” now appears in city zoning in connection with golf courses, but isn’t defined; the proposed definition would allow it to include up to 100 rooms of lodging.

Saratoga National sought the definition to include temporary lodging and conference space after a split City Council last spring refused to specifically allow the resort through an amendment to the city’s comprehensive plan, which promotes the idea of a little-developed “greenbelt” east of the Northway.

The council also recently received an advisory recommendation from the Saratoga County Planning Board, which said the change in definition should be approved.

“We believe said changes do favorably help meet the needs and protect the interests of various elements of the community as a whole,” the Planning Board said in a letter written by senior county planner Michael Valentine.

The business community generally has spoken up in favor of the resort, while opponents including Sustainable Saratoga said allowing a hotel and conference center at the site is incompatible with efforts to keep the east side of the city rural and low-density.

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