CLIFTON PARK — The Town Board on Monday withheld action on a proposal by the Edison Club to build more than 200 homes on the golf course, opting instead to revisit the issue at a later date.
Craig McLean, general manager of the Edison Club, outlined the organization’s proposal to the Town Board at its regular monthly meeting. Specifically, the club wants to build 206 housing units of various styles on about 79 acres of the club's 286-acre property.
The homes would be built on what are now fairways, so the club's 27-hole golf course would become a 20-hole course under the proposal.
The homes are meant to provide a more stable income for the Edison Club, which is struggling to meet expenses. The homes would also bring in more members, according to the proposal.
Right now, the club has enough members to scrape by, McLean said: It has more than 360 golf members and at least 100 more who use the club’s tennis courts, pool and other amenities. The Edison Club, McLean said, can survive without the development, but it might not be able to thrive.
“It’s not as though the Edison Club will go out of business if we can’t do this,” he said at the meeting.
Peak club membership was around 470 golf members, McLean said. The club would need approximately 100 more to be financially stable.
The addition of homes would turn the Edison Club into what is known in the country club industry as a “bundle community.” The new homes would range from condominiums to one-story, single-family homes. Those who purchase the homes must also maintain memberships to the club.
Town Board members questioned McLean about the viability of such a project. Living year-round on a golf course might make sense in a region where the weather is always warm, they said, but they weren’t aware of any such communities in the Capital Region.
McLean agreed, noting that the Edison Club would be the first such community locally.
“I am very surprised at how well-received it’s been,” McLean said, noting that since July, current club members have been asking when they could sign up to buy the homes.
But building the homes, McLean added, is about more than making money. The traditional country club lifestyle, he said, has fallen out of fashion. The housing would provide the stability in member numbers and income needed to keep up with modern demands, while also attracting new people to the club.
Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett agreed.
“Everything needs to evolve if it’s going to be successful,” he said.
The Edison Club needs town approval to begin the development process. The Town Board can also send the proposal to the Planning Board to get a recommendation on the project prior to making a determination.