Controversy is brewing in Sherwood Forest over a 270-lot subdivision planned for the 86-acre site of the former Sherwood Forest Country Club golf course, which has been closed since 2013.
Local engineering firm MR Engineering and Surveying has filed an application with the Planning Commission to rezone the property from single-family residential to rural—which would allow for smaller lot sizes—and to allow the development of a subdivision called the Lakes at Legacy on the site.
The application, filed earlier this month and included on the commission’s Aug. 19 meeting agenda, has few details about the planned development.
But Planning Director Frank Duke says at 270 lots, the Lakes at Legacy would consist of smaller lots and garden homes.
The commission staff has yet to issue a recommendation on the proposal.
But Sherwood Forest residents are already expressing their concern, according to Richard Empson, president of the Sherwood Forest Citizens Association.
“If they wanted to enhance the value of the area that would be one thing,” says Empson, who has been active in the neighborhood since moving there in the mid-1970s. “But these are zero-lot line, cookie-cutter homes.”
Empson says developer Art Lancaster is behind the project and presented his plans to neighbors at a meeting earlier this summer. He says most residents in attendance didn’t like what they heard.
Neither Lancaster nor MR Engineering’s Mickey Robertson, who filed the application with the planning commission, returned multiple calls seeking comment.
But they are expected to discuss their plans again tonight at a 6 p.m. meeting at The Legacy, the clubhouse at the golf course. Also expected to attend the meeting are residents from the nearby Fox Croft and Beauverde neighborhoods, which would back up to the Lakes at Legacy and potentially be affected by traffic and flooding it might create, Empson says.
“They’re adding more concrete and density to an area that flooded in 2016,” he says.
Duke says he cannot comment on the plans at this point, except to say that they technically comply with local zoning code regulations.
Property owner Randy Dornier, who, with his sons, acquired the golf course in 2012 with hopes of redeveloping it into a tennis center, says he cannot comment on Lancaster’s plans or a reported purchase agreement he has with Lancaster.
But, he adds, “When we bought the property, the plan was never to keep it a golf course.”
Residents who cannot attend tonight’s meeting, will have another opportunity to hear about the project at another presentation at 7 p.m. on Aug. 8 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church.