Residents and town officials in Wellesley Hills, Mass., are encouraging the club to build the new six-hole course according to a higher environmental standard due to its proximity to a drinking water source. A hearing on the matter will be held today.
Residents and town officials are urging the Wellesley Country Club in Wellesley Hills, Mass., to be cautious as it works to earn approval for a six-hole golf course on its land near a town drinking water source, the Needham, Mass.-based Wellesley Townsman reported.
The first significant hearing on the matter will be held today, when club representatives will meet with Wellesley’s Zoning Board of Appeals. The club will also ultimately need the approval of Needham’s ZBA before going ahead on the project, the Townsman reported.
Laura Fragasso lives nearby and said she’s hoping that the club will be receptive to the idea of constructing a course that’s held to a higher environmental standard because of its proximity to an aquifer, the Townsman reported.
“It goes without saying that a country club cares about water and the environment as much as we do,” Fragasso said. “We are urging them to take more of a precautionary approach for this new six-hole course by making it more organic.”
She added that she’d like to see the club become part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program in order to ensure that greens are maintained with limited chemical use, the Townsman reported.
“It would be exciting if the club made this course different from the rest of their course and made it more organic,” Fragasso said. “That would be super exciting and a source of pride, I’d think.”
The club’s neighbor said she also would hope that the club would hold off on its application in Needham until any outstanding concerns on the Wellesley side are worked out. Fragasso said that the club’s architect has been responsive to her concerns, the Townsman reported.
The Natural Resources Commission, in a memo to the ZBA, said that it too is concerned about the small course, which is being designed to appeal to younger golfers, the Townsman reported.
“This project would involve the loss of trees, the use of cut-and-fill practices and potential sediment disposition into one of the town’s critical aquifers,” the NRC said in its memo earlier this month. “Part of the expanded course will be located on Wellesley Water Supply Protection lands, leading to the NRC’s apprehension that the use of pesticides for turf management might affect the town’s supply of drinking water.”
In its memo, the NRC asked the ZBA to require the club to provide updates on its pest management plan every three years and also provide the NRC with a copy of any pesticide usage forms it submits to the state’s Department of Agriculture, the Townsman reported.
The NRC echoed Fragasso’s hope that the club would adopt the stricter Audubon International standards in managing a prospective short course, the Townsman reported.