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Golf course zoning upheld, board denies request to re-zone

Updated: Tuesday, October 22 2013, 09:52 PM CDT
Reported by: James Tully

ETTERS --  An 18-month-long campaign by people who live in the Valley Green community to keep the centerpiece of their residences paid off Tuesday night.

The Valley Green Golf Course in Newberry Township is going to stay just that -- a golf course -- for the time being. The board of supervisors ruled against changing the zoning for the course to residential.

Although the residents are pleased with the deicison, one supervisor doesn't think the board's decision was fair to the owners of the golf course.

"Do I like the golf course, yes.  Is the golf course a requirement, no," Ernest Helmick, vice-chairman of the board, said. Helmick represented the only vote in favor of a zoning change for the Valley Green Golf Course.

"The conflict is the people think it’s a golf course forever, he has the right as a land owner to develop the land, keep part of it open space, develop part of it," Helmick said, referring to McNaughton Homes as the owner of the course.

Those people who opposed the zoning change formed a group called The Valley Green Residents Organization (VGRO) and fought McNaughton Homes against developing the course into a residential area. McNaughton claimed the course was not making enough money.

Bill Hendrickson, a member of VGRO, said the course has deep roots in the community.

"When we formed our residents' association it was for responsible development, that’s what we were after," Hendrickson told CBS 21 after the board's decision.

His group worried about an overall dip in quality of life without the open space the course provided. They were also concerned that more residences would cause traffic issues and even raise the cost of living.

The board, on the whole, agreed. Helmick stood behind his decision to support McNaughton.

"If the golf course goes out of business tomorrow, he wants the right to be able to do something with the land and the township with the zoning has stopped him from being able to do anything," Helmick said.

McNaughton has the right to appeal the decision in a York County Court of Common Pleas.Golf course zoning upheld, board denies request to re-zone

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