SOUTHINGTON — Federal wetlands work permits continue to delay the opening of the North Ridge golf course but the builder said he expects final approval in time for a June construction start.
The course and accompanying pro shop, restaurant, driving range and golf learning center were part of a housing development of nearly 100 homes.
Since reconfiguring the golf course holes required altering wetlands near ponds, local developer Mark Lovley said he needed approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The permits and required testing and engineering have so far cost him $400,000, he said.
He’s gotten questions about when the course will be built.
“You can’t control what (the federal government does),” Lovley said.
If approved by summer, he expects the course to be open next year.
On the old course, part of which he developed into homes, the 12th and 13th holes were often so wet that you couldn’t drive a golf cart on them. Lovley said the changes requested will fix that situation.
Kevin Lopes, an ESPN employee who moved into his North Ridge home a week ago, said he bought his house expecting a golf course but is “skeptical given all the delays.” He said he’s not alone in his concern over a golf community without a golf course.
Homes near the course are about 3,000 square feet and run between $500,000 and more than $1 million.
Some residents also expected an 18-hole course. Lovley said he’d considered buying land across Welch Road, part of a sand quarry owned by Tilcon, for an additional 9 holes but changed his mind after hearing from the Army Corps of Engineers about the possibility.
“They told me to figure 10 years to get a permit for a new course,” Lovley said. “It’s not worth it.”
The nine-hole course will have two par fours and seven par threes.
In addition to the course, Lovley is building a 6,000 square-foot pro shop and a 4,000 square-foot restaurant. He’s also installing a TopTracer driving range, a system that tracks shots via satellite. The range has couches and tables for 40 bays where golfers can order food and drinks while shooting.
He’s also planning chipping and putting greens for the course.
The driving range and pro shop could be open by the end of this year, Lovley said.