South Portland awaits proposals for Sable Oaks Golf Club

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Although Sable Oaks Golf Club is closing, with plans to convert the course into a residential development, city Planning Director Tex Haeuser this week said there are no applications pending for development of the 179-acre property.

The city, however, is considering a proposal for construction of a separate, undeveloped portion of the Sable Oaks subdivision that fronts the golf course entrance at the corner of Running Hill Road and Country Club Drive. 

The 18-hole public course opened in 1988. Last year it had more than 200 members, who received word Jan. 24 it would not open for its 31st year. An email from General Manager Mark Anderson apologized for the late notice and assured members that deposits for 2019 would be refunded. 

As reported by the Portland Press Herald, Ocean Properties Hotels Resorts & Affiliates owns the Sable Oaks property, which includes almost a dozen parcels. Peter Connell, an Ocean Properties executive, said the land will be redeveloped for residential use.

A concept plan introduced to the city in 2016 showed the course redeveloped into several apartment buildings, an assisted living facility, and more than two dozen single- and multi-family homes.

Haeuser said the plans remain “very conceptual” and there are “any number of build-out scenarios for that area.”

“Ocean Properties appears to be interested in selling lots, so who knows what the buyers will want to do,” Haeuser said Wednesday. 

Connell told the Press Herald the company and city have been working to rezone portions of the Sable Oaks property for the past few years, so golfers should not have been caught by surprise.

The area was rezoned from professional office to commercial suburban in 2017, a change that allows high-density residential development.

To enable construction of senior housing, 505 and 707 Sable Oaks Drive, and 165 Running Hill Road were moved from the professional office district to the commercial suburban zone. Although the districts have much in common, the professional office district was created with large-scale office parks in mind, while the commercial suburban zone was amended in May 2017 to promote residential development by eliminating population density limits.

Following the zone change, in December 2018, Confluent Development LLC of Denver, Colorado, submitted an application for preliminary major subdivision review of HarborChase of South Portland, an assisted living facility at 165 Running Hill Road.

South Portland Community Planner Stephen Puleo said this proposal has “nothing to do with the closing of the golf course.”

“It’s part of the Sable Oaks subdivision, but wouldn’t overlap with the golf course,” he said.

HarborChase would be a 120-residence senior citizen community of 80 assisted living units and 40 memory care units.

According to the application, the project site consists of one lot and a small portion of another lot that is in a previously approved commercial subdivision – Sable Oaks, Phase III, Lot 3. Together, these parcels contain approximately 6.27 acres of land and is a special permitted use in the commercial suburban district.

Puleo said that Confluent Development is scheduled to go before the Planning Board on Feb. 27.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or jvansaun@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

Owners of South Portland’s Sable Oaks Golf Club announced last week that the course will be closing to make way for residential development. 

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