Advisory board gives golf club plan above-par rating

Springdale Golf Club’s revised proposal praised for saving trees.

By: David Campbell
   The Springdale Golf Club received high marks from a Princeton planning advisory board Wednesday night for its efforts to save trees under a revised proposal for a new clubhouse and driving range.
   In August, golf club officials temporarily withdrew their application after the Site Plan Review Advisory Board of the Princeton Regional Planning Board deemed it short on specifics about a proposed removal of about 1,200 trees, including approximately 689 large trees with diameters of 8 inches or more.
   On Wednesday night, Springdale planners appeared before the advisory board with a revised plan that substantially reduces tree loss to a total of 180 trees of 8 inches or larger in diameter to clear space for parking, a driving range and other improvements.
   The revised landscaping plan calls for 181 new trees to replace the ones to be removed.
   Township Engineer Robert Kiser said Springdale’s efforts to save trees have been substantial.
   "Overall, we’re very pleased with the major changes made here," Mr. Kiser said, an opinion shared by Greg O’Neil, Princeton Township’s open-space manager and arborist.
   "A lot of sacrifices were made by Springdale," Mr. O’Neil said. "We applaud their efforts."
   Under the revised plan, the proposed new clubhouse would be reduced in size from more than 20,000 square feet to around 16,900 square feet, and the proposed new driving range has been reduced in size.
   The new clubhouse, which would be built at the southern end of the property where the driving range is currently located and adjacent to the expanded Lawrence Apartments, would also be shifted to the west to help save trees, as would the parking lot.
   The advisory board recommended Planning Board approval of the revised proposal, with conditions that included consideration of planting more large deciduous trees to get closer to a one-to-one replacement of lost trees.
   "I think it’s been a great job — big, big improvement," board Chairman William Wolfe said of the tree-saving measures.
   In other business Wednesday night, the advisory board recommended approval of a plan by Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart to construct a 17,358-square-foot gymnasium connecting with its existing academic building at the school’s campus off Drakes Corner Road and The Great Road.
   The advisory board made its recommendation contingent upon several conditions, including that the applicant address concerns regarding landscaping, lighting, fire safety and stormwater detention.
   The boys’ academy is located on the 43-acre site of the former Our Lady of Princeton, a Roman Catholic church and convent