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ZBA grants permits to Brick Steamer for mini-golf, but driving range has to wait

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TOWNSEND — A final decision on the driving range will have to wait, but the proposed miniature golf addition to the Brick Steamer restaurant took a major step forward.

Developer Glen Shepherd was in attendance at the most recent meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals and asked board members if they would be willing to grant individual permits for the three components the project required — earth, sand and gravel removal for the miniature golf course; construction of the course; and construction of the driving range. By the end of the meeting, he had received the first two.

ZBA members had no problem issuing the separate permits because that had been the plan all along. Many of the concerns about the project have to do with the driving range, so they felt it was prudent to issue the permits that had no such impediments.

“I don’t know why we wouldn’t do it that way,” David Chenelle, associate member, said.

Shepherd explained that the excavation will not delve deeper than 14 feet above the water level and would require the removal of 300 cubic yards of earth, sand and gravel.

“It’s a relatively small excavation project,” Shepherd said, adding that it would be carried out when the restaurant was closed and there would be no more than five trucks departing the site within an hour, all directly onto Route 119.

At its highest point, the small valley that will cradle the course will be 6 feet below the original ground level and Shepherd said there will be a 6-foot-tall fence along the edge of the course in an attempt to all but obliterate the threat of noise complaints from abutters.

“The area surrounding the excavation will be blended for erosion control and aesthetics,” he added.

The area will only be open to the public June through August, from 10 a.m. until Brick Steamer concludes its business hours at 10 p.m. The cutoff time for the final round would be an hour earlier to make sure all games finish by closing.

The entire course will take up a 150-by-200 foot section of the entire lot and will be located behind the restaurant proper, accessible through the main building. The theme is that of Fessenden-era Townsend, complete with miniature replicas of Townsend landmarks, including the “Mini-Cooperage,” where patrons will get their putters, golf balls, pencils, and score cards.

“It seems to fit pretty well,” said ZBA Chairman William Cadogan.

The board reviewed the permit requirements for each of the two items and the members voted unanimously to issue both of them. The hearing was continued to June 25 at 7 p.m. for the purpose of concluding the request for the driving range permit.

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