The 125-year-old club presented plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission on January 30 that call for changing the pool’s location, adding a horse fence with roses that would connect the pool house with the expanded clubhouse, creating a new dining area, and moving the first hole of the golf course.
The 125-year-old Country Club of New Canaan (Conn.) is undergoing updates to correct some of the shortcomings that the longevity and piecemeal add-ons of the facility have caused, the New Canaan Advertiser reported.
Representatives of the 153-acre club presented plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission on January 30 that call for changing the pool’s location and expanding the clubhouse. The project requires a special permit for site work on the property in a four-acre residential zone, the Advertiser reported.
Architects shared their vision of a horse fence with roses that would connect the barn-inspired pool house with the expanded clubhouse resembling a farmhouse. The plans also call for the construction of a dining area on top of a one-story building where part of the pool house presently sits and moving the first hole of the golf course, the Advertiser reported.
“It is our intention to build a gracious and understated” club with an “architectural presence that is fitting to the neighborhood,” said President Bill Pratt. The club is not planning to increase membership, he said.
This is “one of the first 100 country clubs founded in America and only a handful of those are on the pre-1900 site,” said Pratt. But, “success that comes along with longevity creates its own challenges. Decisions made for sound reasons in the early days in the club’s long history have confounded many generations of the club’s leadership, as such the club has grown in a somewhat piecemeal fashion over the last half century or so.
“The project was approved by over 90% of the membership, which is a remarkable amount of support for a project like this,” he said.
Installing a new pool about 93 feet from the road was of paramount importance to the club and a main concern to the commissioners. The new pool house would be located on the eastern side of the property at the far end of the existing parking lot, the Advertiser reported.
“The pool facility was originally, built at its current location in 1929 and replaced in 1964, has created a physical barrier that prohibits the full enjoyment of the beautiful property and prevents any thoughtful expansion of the clubhouse facility,” said Pratt.
The pool area would include a fully enclosed kiddie pool and playground area. The main pool would have a shallow area designed for children to learn to swim.
Commissioner Dan Radman expressed concern about children running into the street from the pool and playground. Commissioner Elizabeth Deluca questioned having children playing and swimming near the entrance, because “when you drive up you would see this activity in the open.” The representatives of the country club assured the commissioners that the landscaping and fencing around the pool and playground would make it safe and private, the Advertiser reported.
The building that now wraps around the pool would be demolished except for a first floor area that houses items needed in that area,. The roof of the one-story building (which is not elevated since it is ground level) will be redeveloped as an outdoor dining area, the Advertiser reported.
“Improvements to the clubhouse are the club’s highest priority at this time,” Pratt said. “Upgrading the club’s aging physical plant is no longer optional. These are necessary to meet the expectations of our membership and the prospective members.”
The plans call for a first floor addition that would include an expanded banquet and function facility, which will have dedicated restrooms for first time. There will also be an area that will allow the members to meet without being impacted by traffic going through to the banquet area, the Advertiser reported.
The second floor of the proposed clubhouse will have a new men’s locker room and renovated staff rooms. A balcony from the men’s locker room would look out over the golf course. Around the clubhouse “fairly minimal” landscaping with trees and shrubs will be placed “around the area of the corner of the clubroom, which is to be used for outdoor seating and some ancillary dining areas,” said Goven.