BERLIN — A conceptual plan calling for 75 condominiums next to the Ragged Mountain Trailhead was recently presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Envisioned as a condominium community linked to Shuttle Meadow Country Club, the plan would use about 24 of the 140 acres of unused land the course owns to its south to create 44 buildings — 28 detached units and 16 triplexes. Since the presentation was a conceptual plan, no votes were taken and commissioners refrained from indicating support or objections.
Donald Klepaik, a longtime country club member selected to develop the property, feels the project would have a minimal impact on the hiking trails along Ragged Mountain. None of the marked trails are on Shuttle Meadow’s property and the proposed homes closest to the preserve would be about 400 feet from the nearest trail, he said.
A parking lot is planned to give hikers a place to park other than the side of the road, Klepaik said.
"This concept allows us to alter that parcel as little as possible and essentially keep as much of it preserved and keep it transitioned to the Ragged Mountain Trail with a buffer there,” he said.
Nick LeFort, who grew up hiking on Ragged Mountain and attended the PZC meeting, said he has mixed feelings about the plan. He would lament the loss of the unofficial trails on the parcel, but appreciates that the development proposed has a smaller footprint than allowed by zoning rules.
“It’s their property and they were kind enough to let us walk on it for so many years,” he said.
Klepaik hopes to file an application for a zone change with the commission by December. The plan will also need to come before the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission.
Klepaik also showed an alternative plan that would use about an additional 30 acres and move the development closer to the hiking paths. It would not require a zone change.
Shuttle Meadow is seeking to develop or sell the land to generate revenue for course improvements and maintenance, Klepaik said.
By connecting the neighborhood to the course via a trail for walkers and golf carts, the hope is that the complex can attract new members for the club.
"It's a unique development in a sense because we're trying to tie this into our golf course and to maximize basically the desires of our existing members," Klepaik said.