WOODSBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A sprawling open space in Nassau County could be turned into housing after CBS2 has learned of an agreement to sell the Woodmere Club.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday, the private country club – like many across Long Island – has fallen on tough financial times.
A fury has now erupted over the fate of the century-old institution.
“The character of the neighborhood is not meant, you know, to have all these homes,” said Sara Bienstock of Woodsburgh. “It’s meant to have nature and the environment.”
Five Towns residents are teed off that the Woodmere Club, a jewel of the Nassau County South Shore, will be carved up now that sources say it has been sold to a developer.
The club’s land, currently zoned for dense housing, makes it eligible for 300 new homes.
“Having a lot of small houses doesn’t seem like it’ll benefit our neighborhood at all,” said Nicole Spivak of Woodsburgh.
“They’re investors. They’re free to do what they want to do,” said Conroy Champagne of Cedarhurst. “But I’m for quality of life.”
As CBS2 reported last summer, club members are also unhappy it has come to this.
“We love this club and of course I don’t want homes here,” a member said at the time. “I don’t want to sell anything, but if that’s what it takes.”
But after one deal fell through – a mulligan of sorts – the club board advised members in a letter to approve the sale to a new developer who will maintain the golf course for four years. Afterward, he has the option to dissolve the club and subdivide, bringing hundreds more people to an already-congested corridor.
“On a good day, the traffic is impossible,” said Danielle Aronovitz of the group Concerned Residents of the Five Towns. “This neighborhood is busting – that’s the bottom line.”
“People just don’t want to pay that much to play golf anymore,” said Hempstead Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman.
With many country club struggling, Blakeman said the Town of Hempstead is reevaluating zoning for shuttered golf courses.
“We determined that the best thing to do was a time out,” he said. “We have installed a moratorium of six months, and during that time, we’re meeting with planners to figure out what plan makes sense for this community.”
Even if the sale closes, there will be rounds ahead of zoning and permit battles. Three villages, the Town of Hempstead, and the residents all have skin in the game.
The developer for the land is identified in club documents as WG Woodmere, LLC an affiliate of Robert Weiss and Efram Gerzberg.
The Woodmere Club board of directors declined to comment.