Chebeague golf club still exploring land donation

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CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — The president of the Great Chebeague Golf Club said he will poll members to determine what the next step should be for a proposed land donation on Stone Wharf Road from the club to the town.

The decision came after residents at a special Town Meeting turned down the offer March 4. Approval of Article 3 would have meant more parking space on the island. 

President Carl Tubbesing said most of the members of the private club are summer residents, but they care about the town’s year-round needs.

“We feel very much part of the community, and when a chance comes along to help the island with a fairly serious public policy issue, we’re happy to do it,” Tubbesing said. 

The club in July 2015 became listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2020, the nine-hole Great Chebeague Golf Club will mark its 100th anniversary. 

The island’s parking issue is an important one for the golf club, Tubbesing said.

Parking along Stone Wharf Road, which leads into the golf club, has been tight. Creating a new parking area would give drivers other parking alternatives. Amending the zoning in an area near the golf club – the intent of Article 3 – would have created room to build a public parking lot with almost 30 spaces on an acre of land near the golf club. 

Article 3 called for amending the Limited Commercial zone to Commercial Fisheries/Maritime Activities. The vote failed 40 to 26.

A complementary article, Article 4, became moot with Article 3’s failure. Article 4 called for earmarking nearly $110,000 to build a fence around the new parking lot and screening it from view with landscaping.

Town Administrator Marjorie E. Stratton said after the vote that “generally (voters felt the town needed to have a broader plan to address the safety issues at Stone Wharf (Road).”  However, there have not been any serious accidents on the road, she said.

Still, more parking is needed near the club.

“We took the initiative three years ago to offer the parcel to the town for free to address this critical, priority issue of parking on Wharf Road,” he said. “Several of the club’s leaders spent countless hours working cooperatively with the board of selectmen hammering out the details of a legal agreement to guide the transfer of the land and construction of the parking lot.”

Completing the offer of the land donation via public vote in support of the donation is the remaining task.

Despite the outcome of the March 4 vote, Tubbesing said, “The club is committed to continuing to work with the town in the hope of bringing the parking lot to fruition.”

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183, or Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.