Future still uncertain for Thorndale Country Club

Jul. 30, 2014 @ 06:51 PM

Thorndale Country Club’s backyard will not be renovated — for now.

Save Thorndale Inc., current owners of the county club, withdrew its request to make changes to the land surrounding it after hearing concerns from nearby residents.

The organization continued with its proposal for the town to create a new zoning district in the city that would blend business and residential in eight other areas, along with the country club.

During an Oxford Board of Commissioners planning, ordinance and development committee Wednesday, commissioners and staff met to decide what kind of businesses should occupy these properties before the full board weighs in.

Committee members agreed areas should not be used for crop production, and buyers wishing to operate lodges, clubs or funeral homes must obtain a special permit.

The committee agreed areas for plant and fruit cultivation were acceptable land uses.

Faith Watkins, a potential buyer of the country club, plans to go through with purchasing the property and turning it into a wedding and event venue, according to her attorney Thomas Currin.

Watkins and Currin attended the meeting to petition for increasing permitted land uses for the nine areas.

Currin said doing so would help Watkins get financing to renovate the country club and safeguard her if plans for a wedding and event center fall through.

“If you restrict it too much, it’s going to be useless,” he said.

Mayor Jackie Sergent said the committee needed to make decisions based on the entire district, instead of just the country club.

“It’s about our zoning code overall,” she said.

In addition to the country club, the eight that could become neighborhood commercial:

• Linden Avenue, which includes Fourth Street down to Industry Drive and also Spring Street to Sycamore Street.

• Williamsboro Street, which includes Hilltop Shopping Center and Hilltop Lumber.

• The corner of Knotts Grove Road and U.S. 96.

• Hillsboro Street beginning at Church Street and ending at Broad Street.

• The intersection of Broad and McClanahan streets down to Cherry Street.

• The intersection of McClanahan and Lanier streets down to College Street.

• The corner of Williamsboro and Lanier streets.

Sergent said crop production would not benefit the areas’ commercial uses and could cause disturbances to neighbors because of the heavy machinery required for maintenance.

Currin said he and Watkins would return again if a deal is worked out that would fit the needs of residents surrounding the club.

“At some point, we need to figure out what we are going to do with the rest of this property,” he said.

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.