In a two-pronged attempt to cash out on the golf business in a significant way, the management at Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Canton is looking to sell the ‘better’ portion of its golf course property — the Dales Course — to real estate developers and at the same time is trying to get the regional park district to purchase as ‘green space’ another portion of the property.
The following email was sent today by Chuck Bennell, President of Tam O’Shanter Company, to subscribers of the course’s email newsletter explaining their efforts to generate a real estate sale to developers and the Stark County Park District:
Proposed Plan Seeks Green Future for Jackson Township and Stark County
A plan is in development for the future of Tam O’Shanter Golf Course which, if approved by the Jackson Township Zoning Commission and Trustees when presented in the spring of 2015, will ensure approximately 75 percent of the 295-acre golf course property will remain green space forever.
Due to the decline in golf participation nationally and locally, Tam O’Shanter will not continue to operate 36 holes long-term, yet will remain in full 36-hole operation throughout 2015.
If the Trustees approve the overall plan, it is the intention of Tam O’Shanter that the Dales Course would close at the end of 2015 while the clubhouse, practice center/driving range, and Hills Course would remain open in 2016 and for the foreseeable future.
“At this point in time Tam O’Shanter has not been sold, but a decision needs to be made,” says Tam O’Shanter Company President Chuck Bennell. “The company is doing its best to keep the best interests of Jackson Township and Stark County in mind when weighing all possible outcomes for the future of our 295 acres.”
Bennell plans to propose a land plan including a zone change request that would restrict any development to approximately 25% of total golf course acreage at the north end of the property along Fulton Drive. This area is located along a commercial street, and the plan would provide all access into the development from the Fulton Drive area.
The development proposal will include approximately 35-40 acres of retail shopping along Fulton Drive, coordinated with approximately 25-35 acres of multi-family residential development immediately south of the commercial area, contiguous to the existing multi-family area known as Carriage Hill.
The proposal is consistent with Jackson Township’s comprehensive plan. The balance of the property – approximately 220 acres — would eventually be purchased by the Stark County Park District through state, local, and other funding sources.
According to Bob Fonte, Stark County Park Director, the plan will create a “green development” on a portion of the property by retaining storm water within the future park, while preserving and keeping the balance of the land natural forever, increasing bio-diversity, preserving and expanding wetlands, and improving water quality. The plan will include connectivity between the park and the commercial and multi-family areas.
If the plan is approved, then from 2016 through the next several years Tam O’Shanter would operate as an 18-hole golf course. All 36 holes will remain open through 2015.
This plan bases its outcomes solely on the best scenario and approval from the Jackson Township Zoning Commission and the Township Trustees. Tam O’Shanter is frequently approached by national developers who want to acquire the 134-acre Hills Course, which since the 1980s has been zoned R-1 Single Family Residential. Under this current zoning a developer could potentially build over 200 single family homes over an area stretching from the Amesbury allotment to the Village of Hills and Dales. “At this time we are not negotiating with any residential developers”, says Bennell.
The approval of this plan will provide park space, trails, and amenities for Jackson Township and Stark County. The plan also benefits schools. By eliminating the possibility of over 200 new single-family homes, classrooms can be kept at a comfortable student to teacher ratio. Schools also benefit from higher taxes on the new commercial development.
Finally, a large Stark County Park in Jackson Township means more township dollars invested in county tax levies will stay in Jackson Township, while all county residents will have access to permanent green space in the center of Stark County.
Chuck Bennell, President, Tam O’Shanter Company
What do you think about Mr. Bennell’s email? How does the idea of selling Tam O’Shanter to retail and housing developers and the Park District sit with you? Post your comments below…