KETTERING — Concerns in a petition signed by NCR Country Club neighbors have led to tighter guidance of that venue’s plans to build a golf course player development center.
A compliance agreement has been added to a measure allowing the private club to build a one-story, 8,000 square foot site that would include an indoor driving range and practice activities.
The agreement was tacked on to a conditional use approval after more than 20 neighbors signed a petition questioning plans by the club, which is set to host the U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship next year.
Neighborhood disruption, netting, lighting and noise were among the issues raised in the petition, which is supported by some club members.
“The Kettering zoning code states that use must conform ‘to the character of the neighborhood’ and not ‘injure the use and enjoyment of property in the immediate vicinity’,” according to the petition.
Residents near the 67-year-old Dogwood Trail club questioned plans for the site and how it would impact their homes.
“I have grave concerns as to the impact of this commercial building on the adjacent neighborhood and the lack of any information for mitigating its impact,” Southern Boulevard resident Kim Zorniger told the Kettering Planning Commission in a public hearing last week.
“NCR sees it as a positive. We see it as a possible negative to our property values,” she added.
The new building would allow golfers to hit from any of six indoor bays out to the current driving range and employ the latest industry technology, said K&A Architecture President Don Kiley, an agent for NCR.
It would also include a putting area and a conference room, he said.
The facility would be built on the western edge of the outdoor driving range nearest Southern, city records show.
With previous NCR projects, “great efforts have been made to minimize the impact of golf on the surrounding neighborhood,” but this plan “seems to do the exact opposite” due — in part — to the lack of information the club has provided, Zorniger said.
She said tree removal and the earth-moving equipment being used to prep the site for construction have exposed previously-buffered NCR land while creating more noise and traffic.
Club General Manager Jeff Grant said prep work for the new building created a temporary situation and now “most of the heavy lifting…with bull dozers is completed.”
Grant said NCR wants to accommodate contractors’ schedules “so we’re trying to get this done as soon as possible.”
Some heavy equipment traffic on Southern includes vehicles used for nearby Moraine Country Club and NCR has no intention of seeking permanent access from that road to its property, Kiley said.
“NCR has been a good neighbor,” Kiley said, noting that one resident said the area was a “perfect” setting.
“It’s a perfect setting because NCR is what it is,” Kiley said. “It’s a premium golf course in the (U.S.). We’re not going to do anything to (hurt) that. We have the senior women’s open coming next fall. The last thing we’re going to try to do is put a bad product out there.”
Kiley said he’s fine with the compliance agreement, which would give the city more oversight as work continues. Landscaping and netting requirements were already written into the conditional use, which the planning commission approved 3-0.
Resident Bill Pardue, an NCR member, said it “has gone from being a good club to a great club.” But, in this case, he and his wife fully support the petition.
“I think the way that this project has moved forward — what has been shared and not been shared — has not been appropriate,” Pardue said.
Club member Mike Gearhardt said he’s not a fan of change, but after Grant shared information with him he favors the plan.
“NCR has been there 67 years now. I think they are a very good citizen,” Gearhardt said.
“I think they’ve demonstrated that over the years,” he added. “I think it’s good for the Dayton community, the Kettering community and I’d like to see it continue to expand and thrive into the future.”
Kiley said the goal is to have the new building done in the spring.