OKEMOS– On Monday, Feb. 27, the Meridian planning commission meeting received one of the largest turnouts that they’ve had in months. The reason why: The Walnut Hill Golf Club property is being rezoned.
The golf club was privatized by a company that is planning on building commercial and luxury apartments. Residents of Walnut Hills and the neighboring property, Carriage felt strongly about the rezoning of the country club and showed up in high numbers of about 30 people at the meeting to express those feelings to the city’s elected officials.
“We felt that we needed to be involved and be upfront and tell people that this is a mistake for that area,” said Lake Lansing resident Mike Jenkins. “We live on Lake Lansing Road, we know how much traffic is on there right now, and if they’re going to take four lanes and make it two lanes with one directions and a bike lane, along with adding traffic from (planned) Costco, it’ll be a mess.”
Majority of the residents don’t think that there is a market for the apartments that are starting at $300,000 and going up into the $800,000.
“There’s a lot of history in that property that I don’t think people know about,” said Candice Bennett as she pulled out historical documents pertaining to Skyline Drive. “The property was settled in 1844 by Isaac Carl and he was one of the first farmers in that area, they said 80 years but it’s really 174 years, I would hope to see a linear park, so that people could have access to the woods there, ideally I would’ve loved for the town to buy it and make it a recreational facility for the area.”
Bennett would’ve even been happy if they had decided to keep the clubhouse, which would’ve still been for country club members only.
Since the property has been sold, the voting of the zone will be for how dense the housing will be on that property. Voting is still under discussion, while the developer is mapping out a proposal with conditions.
“This is a complicated issue that has a long history, there are a lot of sentimental feelings regarding the gold course and the property,” said Zoning Commissioner and City of Meridian Treasurer Julie Brixie. “There have been opportunities in the past for the property to be purchased, and there was a judge that gave the members until May of 2016 to come up with funds to purchase the property.”
The members failed to come up with enough money to purchase the land. In the meantime, the property has been purchased and the owner has indicated that he is going to develop the property in terms of what it is zoned for. He is requesting a higher density zoning than what it is already zoned for.
“Unless a private entity steps in, there will be development on that property,” said Brixie.