Plymouth Planning Commission Recommends Denial of Latest Hollydale Redevelopment Proposal
Six months after it was rejected, a proposal to redevelop the former Hollydale Golf Course in Plymouth is back again.
The Plymouth Planning Commission spent nearly four hours Wednesday night reviewing a new application from the same development team that had its proposal rejected last fall and hearing from residents against the project. You can view the full discussion here.
The development team is Plymouth-based Hollydale GC Development, Inc., which consists of Jake Walesch and Dave Gonyea, founder of Gonyea Homes. The more than one dozen Plymouth residents who spoke against the proposal say the latest application is more of the same of what was rejected previously.
“We don’t want this,” said Paul Hillen, who helped lead previous efforts against redeveloping the nearly 160-acre Hollydale site into homes. “This doesn’t make any sense. Just because you can develop it, doesn’t mean you should.”
“Our Hollydale is like a terrarium back in the 70s, you know where you put the little plants in the bottle. We have created a bottle right in the middle of a tremendously dense population,” said Don Hoffert, the first resident to speak via videoconferencing. “And now we’re expecting seven-to-eight years of construction. It’s just not fair.”
The city has fielded questions over the past year about purchasing the property itself. However, the city council decided it did not want to take on that added expense nor enter the city into the golf course business.
Latest Hollydale Proposal Still Has 229 Single-Family Homes
The latest redevelopment proposal includes 229 single-family homes, the same number as the proposal the Plymouth City Council rejected last fall. Residents also voiced similar concerns shared about the previous application. Those include too much added traffic, too much density and too little preservation of open space.
The changes under the new proposal would move about 7.25 acres of park area closer to the future Schmidt Woodlands park, located just west of the Hollydale site. Other changes include having a trail by the park and additional land conservation easements.
The owners of Hollydale, the Deziel family, closed the golf course in 2019 and retired after 55 years in the business. They have since sued the city, saying there’s no rational basis to deny low-density housing in that area.
But some planning commission members were taken aback by the Plymouth City Council allowing development talks to resume.
“I’m struck really by the lack of direction from the city council at this stage of the game beyond simply they too rejected this proposal a few months ago, and have now apparently acquiesced in a decision to proceed with the application, to reapply,” said Michael Boo, Plymouth Planning Commission member.
The planning commission unanimously recommended denial of amending the city’s comprehensive plan needed for the proposal to move forward. The amendment would reguide the property from P-I to LA-1. P-I allows for a wide range of public-institutional land uses, including religious institutions, hospitals, fire stations and correctional centers, in addition to parks and recreation uses. LA-1 allows for low-density residential development of between two-to-three homes per acre.
Despite the planning commission’s recommendation, the Plymouth City Council has the final say. The council expects to address the matter at its June 22 meeting.