By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A proposed condominium complex overlooking the Fountaingrove Golf and Athletic Club has club members upset it could mar their poolside views of wooded hillsides.
The Terrazzo at Fountaingrove project proposes 66 condominium units just north of the outdoor pool and spa enjoyed by about 1,000 club members and their families.
Members of the private club, whose dues run about $600 per month for a family, have a long list of concerns about the project, from the dust and noise during two years of construction to residents’ use of a club access road.
But the single biggest complaint is the size and scale of the buildings that loom large over their Olympic-size pool and hot tubs.
“Who wants to try to relax at poolside staring into a 50-foot high wall of apartments?” said Jerry Gladstone, 67.
The retired Agilent Technologies vice president has been a member of the athletic club since it opened in 2004 and works out there every day.
Gladstone and other members also are suspicious about the project because one of the developers is Bill Carle, the former club president.
Gladstone notes that Carle was on the board in 2008 when it signed off the easement across club property that made development of the 7.5-acre parcel possible.
“Doesn’t that sound fishy?” Gladstone said.
Current board president Randy Seeley said Carle was one of the 18 founders who took the club private in 2004. To help finance the deal, the club spun off several parcels, including the property that became Varenna senior community.
At that time, Carle acquired an interest in the hillside parcel he’s now trying to develop. In 2008, he proposed the board grant an access easement across club property. Carle abstained from the vote, Seeley said. He has since resigned from the board and quit the club.
Club members expected a project of perhaps 50 units, with many located up the hill and farther away from the pool, Seeley said. But an early version of the project called for 66 units next to the pool and 17 larger homes terraced across the hilltop, hence the name Terrazzo.
Following city concerns, those hilltop units have since been eliminated, but the 66 units near the pool remain.
“We’re not saying they can’t build something there. We’re just saying it’s too big,” Seeley said.
The plan calls for all the development to take place on the lower 4.5 acres of the site. It would include 153 parking spaces, most of them under the buildings. Residents are expected to generate 383 vehicle trips per day, accessing the complex through the club entrance. Residents would be required to be members of the athletic club.
Hugh Futrell, Carle’s development partner in the deal, said he knows the project has stirred passionate opposition. But it has been exhaustively reviewed by the city and meets all applicable land use policies, he said.
“I think this is an extremely well designed project that is completely consistent with all the rules,” Futrell said.
Erin Morris, senior planner for the project, has written a “mitigated negative declaration” for the project that essentially says it won’t have a significant impact on the environment. The club and the Fountaingrove Homeowners Association have hired lawyers and land use consultants and plan to refute that conclusion when the issue comes before the Planning Commission March 22.
Club members who criticize the visibility of the project neglect to mention that the units are in a “resort” designation and are required to be designed in such a way that they are integrated with the rest of the club, Futrell said.
“Not only is it common sense that a project on a neighboring parcel would be visible, but in this case the zoning and General Plan make it inevitable,” Futrell said.
You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or email@example.com.