Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Housing proposal appears dead

Prospects sour at golf site

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        BURLINGTON — The developer that had planned to turn a 40-acre portion of the Meadowood Golf Course into a high-density residential community is expected to withdraw its application at today's Boone County Fiscal Court meeting.

        Robert C. Rhein Interest Inc. of Sycamore Township wanted to take the nine northernmost holes, located on the east side of Ky. 237 at the corner of the Ky. 18 intersection. The site is across from Stephens Elementary School.

        The golf course proposal is on the fiscal court's agenda. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. today at the county courthouse in Burlington.

        Course owner Lowell Runion said he plans to upgrade the 18-hole layout's irrigation system and continue to operate the course. He said he's not sure why Rhein Interest wants to back out.

        “I'm not sure of (Rhein Interest's) reasoning,” Mr. Runion said. “At this stage, I'm going to sit back and look at it. I'm not going to do anything.”

        Which is exactly what Sigrid Chapman wanted. She owns a condominium near Meadowood's No. 9 fairway, but she fears Rhein Interest will just come back with another plan — like the company did in August after an earlier proposal that would have taken all 18 holes was submitted and withdrawn.

        “I'll never rest easy until the Fiscal Court says denied, denied, denied, period,” said Ms. Chapman, who fought both designs.

        County Commissioner Cathy Flaig found out about the planned withdrawal when she looked at her e-mail Monday morning. She called it a surprise because Rhein Interest had filed two proposals since last April.

        Alex Tarasenko, a Rhein Interest vice president in charge of the development, could not be reached for comment Monday.

        It is believed Meadowood, known first as Beechland Golf Course, opened in the 1970s. Robert Leach, who directs the annual Northern Kentucky Men's Amateur golf tournament, said the course is at least 25 years old.

        In April, Rhein Interest submitted and later withdrew a plan to take all 18 holes. It called for 306 apartments (with monthly rents of $650-$900), 97 single-family homes (costing $140,000-$190,000) and 148 carriage homes (costing at least $120,000).

        The second plan, submitted in August, requested a zoning change from recreation, office and commercial to urban residential. The nine southernmost holes would have been saved, while the others would have been converted into 248 apartments and 136 two-sto ry town houses.

        The Boone County Planning Commission rejected that plan 8-2 in October. Opponents have complained the new homes would lower property values and cause traffic problems.

        Mr. Runion has said his 18-hole public course cannot compete with two county-owned layouts: the 27-hole Boone Links, located in the Oakbrook subdivision; and Lassing Pointe, an 18-hole course behind Ryle High School in Union.

        He did not say how much he is spending on the irrigation upgrade.


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