OAKLAND — Developers of a proposed 18-hole golf course in the Thousand Acres area of Deep Creek Lake got approval for a golf course clubhouse but were denied a request for a private membership club with boat launch, lakeside pavilion and transient docks.

The Garrett County Board of Zoning Appeals voted on the two applications for a special exception presented by Thousand Acre Development Inc. for the north shore of Green Glade Cove following a lengthy hearing Thursday night in Oakland.

The application that was denied can be appealed in Garrett County Circuit Court, according to Bill DeVore of the Garrett County Zoning Office.

The developers also can file a new application if it is significantly different than the initial request or they can wait a year and request the exception again, DeVore said.

Deep Creek resident Scott Hollander said development in the Thousand Acres area is inevitable and that people who live there should be involved in seeing that it’s done properly.

“The golf course isn’t going away,” Hollander, member of the Thousand Acre Association, said at the hearing Thursday night. “The clubhouse isn’t going away. We just need to find out how we’re going to lessen their impact.”

With more than 70 people in attendance, one issue presented throughout was the question of how the course and its amenities could be considered a private club. Some felt the clubhouse was far too large to warrant this. Roger Titus, member of the Deep Creek Property Owners Association, also mentioned that since membership accompanies the purchase of land, this transforms it into a commercial venture.

“The private club really isn’t any part of this request for special exception,” Leonard Eiswert, attorney for TAD Inc., said “This public clubhouse could be operated by a private club, by a corporation or anything as far as the zoning ordinance.”

Another issue presented throughout was that construction would not involve one single building, but also other amenities like volleyball courts, tennis courts and a pool pavilion as well as a boat house.

The clubhouse was described by members of TAD and consultant Paul Durham of Heritage LLC as a one-story structure with an additional loft and basement that would use natural colors and materials to ensure it would blend with the surroundings, and at a level where it would be almost entirely blocked from the view of others by trees.

Of the 192 available seats at the clubhouse, 88 would be outside, with the remaining 102 scattered in various areas inside, including the lounge.

“The dining room is modest when it comes to a high-quality club that’s associated with a golf course,” Durham said of the indoor seating.

The greatest concern was not necessarily indoor seating, but that of the outside.

“It would be like bringing Uno’s and Honi Honi to this area of the lake,” Titus said of the outdoor seating.

Tom Kierstead, board of appeals chairman, had concerns that the lodge would be lit outside, and questioned the reason. Drew Fessler of TAD said that they would not light the building, only entrances and exits.

The plans for a boat launch ramp and transient docks, which were denied, would allow for club members with their own private dock permit sites to use the ramp and for 10 additional motorized boat launches, to comply with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ regulations on their usage. There will not be any such limit on small, hand-launched crafts.

Citizens and Kierstead said that this really was not a single item, but two — the launch ramp and the transient docking.

A common concern of local residents was how the private club would control who uses the ramp and docks as well as how often.

There were also concerns with the additional boat traffic that this would bring to that area of the lake, and how it would affect the current use of the lake, including sailing.

“This application appears to be a flawed application for a flawed site,” Jean Boccuti said. “The ramp is actually an accouterment to a very large real estate development and is thus commercial.”

Sarah Moses can be reached at smoses@times-news.com.

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