Adding a driving range as part of improvement plans for the Mount Prospect (Ill.) Golf Course is a “critical economic element” to create a “complete facility,” advocates say, and 75 feet is actually the minimum height needed to provide adequate safety. But nearby residents want “aesthetic assurance” that they won’t have a “curtain” put up in front of their houses.
The Park District in Mount Prospect, Ill. is hoping for a new monetary gain with its plan to install a 75-foot-high netting on a proposed new driving range at its soon-to-be-revamped Mount Prospect Golf Course, reported the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald.
But neigbors near the course fear a net loss in property values, the Daily Herald reported.
Earlier this week, the village board in Mount Prospect heard the first reading of an ordinance that would grant a zoning variation and allow the netting to exceed the current limit of 30 feet, the Daily Herald reported. But the Park District’s request for the variance arrived with a built-in disadvantage, it was noted: The village’s Planning and Zoning Commission had already rejected the proposed variation unanimously, requiring that a “supermajority” of votes from the village board (five out of seven) would be needed for it to pass.
Dave Esler, of Esler Golf Design, told the village trustees that 75 feet was actually the minimum height needed to provide necessary safety at the course, the Daily Herald reported.
“Frankly, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that there will be golf balls that will go over this net,” Esler said. “As I stated earlier, we would prefer from a safety standpoint to have [the net] even higher. But we don’t want to be ridiculous and completely offend the neighbors.”
Without the netting, the driving range might have to be dropped from the plans for the course, Esler added. “We think it’s a critical element to have a driving range from an economic standpoint, as well as more esoteric perception standpoint,” he said. “This is a complete facility.”
But residents say they fear the netting will be unsightly and lower property values, the Daily Herald reported.
“I use the golf course. I live on the golf course. My daughter’s on the golf team. So I really want to see this succeed,” said Dave DiPrima at the village meeting. “But on the same note, I need to have some aesthetic insurance, if you will, that it’s not going to look [bad].”
Another resident, John Heidkamp, disputed the Park District’s assertion that the netting would blend into nearby trees, the Daily Herald reported. “It’s like having a curtain in front of your house,” he said, pointing to photos from similar golf ranges.
Gregory Kuhs, Executive Director of the Park District, said a new driving range would boost the golf-lesson program at the course, and benefit local high school golf teams, the Daily Herald reported.
Two golf coaches from Prospect High School—girls’ coach Jim Hamann and boys’ coach Tom Martindale—both argued in favor of the range, the Daily Herald reported. Without it, Hamann said, there would be no place for golfers to warm up, and no opportunity to host a regional or sectional tournament.
But with the driving range, he added, the sky is the limit.
“I want to run my [golf] camps through the Park District,” Hamann told the village board. “Hundreds of kids. Boys and girls. It would be phenomenal.”
The matter will come back to the village board for a second reading, which will give the Park District a chance to present more material before the trustees vote, the Daily Herald reported.
“For this board, I think it does just come down to the aesthetics and on some level, I suppose, the safety,” said Trustee Paul Hoefert.
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