Concerns raised about buffer encroachment for proposed mini golf course

Union Leader Correspondent
April 19. 2017 10:31PM

HOOKSETT — Plans for a miniature golf course in town will come before the Planning Board in the coming weeks after concerns were raised about it coming too close to neighboring residential properties.

Construction of the new Chuckster’s Ice Cream and miniature golf course has begun, including some tree clearing. But the work is stepping into a buffer next to a neighboring residential property on Hackett Hill Road. One of the abutters approached the town with concerns about the project, said Jim Donison, the town engineer.

The site will feature two 18-hole courses and an ice cream barn. The plans were approved late last year, which showed in general where the golf courses would go, though the actual layout of what they would look like was not available at the time. Developers were told to present those to the board at a later date.

“Had we seen that, I can guarantee you this board never would have passed that,” said Planning Board Chairman Dick Marshall, of the design plans presented on Monday. “It’s shame on us that we approved anything without that being presented at the time of the approval. Now you’ve shown it to us and we have a problem.”

Planning Board members said that if developers felt it was a necessary part of their project, they would have to get a variance from the Zoning Board.

“I think this is a great improvement for the area… but there’s no reason, and no way, we should be allowing them to encroach on an (buffer),” said Planning Board Vice Chairman Tom Walsh.

A public hearing on an amendment to the plans will be held at the Planning Board’s meeting on May 1.

The hope is to open the business by July, though it’s unknown at this point if this will delay the planned opening.

The golf course is just one of the many proposed projects for the Lilac Park development, which is being built off Hackett Hill Road and has been in the works for years now. Jeff Larabee owns the land and is one of the main developers of the project.

There are nine project phases, with two already underway. In July, the Planning Board approved site plans for a 100-seat smokehouse-style restaurant. Building the Supreme Industries facility — the new location for a Connecticut-based company that specializes in projects such as land clearing, road building and site preparation — would be the third phase of the development.

Larabee has said he also wants to bring hotels to the site as well as an outdoor concert venue and botanical garden.

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