AMHERST — The Amherst Country Club is looking at possibly developing an inn and event center next to the golf course.
Recently, a representative with Meridian Land Services Inc. approached the planning board to discuss the conceptual plan, which is similar to a plan that was introduced in 2007 but never came to fruition.
“We almost want to do the very same thing,” Ken Clinton of Meridian told the planning board.
In 2007, the zoning board granted a variance to convert the existing house at the corner of the country club entrance into an inn. It also approved the construction of a new barn to house a restaurant and function space.
When the economy started to downshift, Clinton said that plan was placed on the back burner. Now, more than a decade later, he said there is renewed interest in finally developing the inn and event center.
“Architecturally, we are not there yet, but we wanted to get the ball rolling,” he told town planners. “We still think this is an excellent idea.”
The land at 76 Ponemah Road is owned by Susan Currier; the extended Currier family owns the country club property.
“I think there is plenty of need for it in town,” Clinton said of the function space. In addition, he said, it would be beneficial to have a restaurant associated with the country club.
When the plan was originally introduced in 2007, the inn was approved for 12 or 14 rooms. Clinton said the number of rooms in the new plan has not yet been determined, but could be anywhere from eight to 30.
“There have been a number of different things that have been contemplated for that site,” said Gordon Leedy, the town’s director of community development. He said it was once considered for a duplex and office space.
The Amherst Country Club is expected to approach the zoning board in the coming months seeking a lot line adjustment before coming back to the planning board with a formal site plan, Leedy said.
It has not yet been determined whether the new barn with the event center and restaurant would be attached to the inn, or whether it would be a freestanding building, according to Clinton.
Marilyn Peterman, planning board member, said most inns have an enclosed restaurant.
“You could always include a small spa area in the inn — an amenity for people who are staying there for the night,” she said.
A spa was included in the original plans, but was not ultimately approved by the zoning board in 2007, Clinton said.
“I like the concept very much,” board member Peter Lyon said of the new conceptual proposal.