At the June 21 P&Z meeting attorney John Heagney represented Rock Pile Golf Club who want to open a recreational facility with golf simulators at 600 West Putnam Ave. Rock Pile proposes to convert almost 6,000 sq ft of space in the building for the club, which would have 6 golf simulator stations, a putting area, locker room and bar.
The applicant will seek an on-premises café liquor permit from the State Liquor Control Division.
The club would operate Monday through Sunday from 7:00am to 11:00pm. During the first half of the day, there will be three employees on site, including a golf instructor, greeter and cleaner. After 3:00pm, there would be five employees on site, including two golf instructors, bartender, server, and cleaner.
Alcohol service would begin at 4:00pm.
Attorney Heagney explained that PGA professionals will serve as instructors, and computer simulators will have access to countless golf courses.
“It’ll operate similar to a driving range or instruction facility, especially during first part of the day,” Heagney said. “There will be a smaller staff in the morning and a larger staff in the afternoon. We’re not expecting people to sidle up to the bar in the morning.”
Ms Alban asked the applicant to calculate parking demand to include the hours the bar is open.
In fact, most of the commission’s questions concerned parking demand, which they fear was underestimated.
“You assume each little room has one user at a time, and you will have 5 instructors. You’re calculating 11 spaces and you’re going to have a bar, but you aren’t calculating how many seats the bar has, and whether people will be joining (members) in the bar,” said commission chair Margarita Alban.
“Even at a driving range, people hang out and talk to each other,” she added.
Commissioner Dennis Yeskey agreed the application appeared to be under parked.
“You have three chairs in every bay. Are you expecting three people at every bay?” he asked.
“Are you going to have special events? I’ve been to (events) where a whole group shows up and there is competition, and then you go to the bar. That’s not 10 people,” Yeskey added.
“We do have sufficient parking on site,” Heagney said.
“Don’t debate us now,” Alban said. “When you submit the application, do a better job laying out your parking requirements.”
Mr. Heagney said Citarella, on the first floor, has 94 spaces based on 2018 CO sign off, 13 spaces are dedicated to the Coastal Eye Surgeons, and 19 spaces are dedicated to CT Dermatology practice.
“Because the medical practices close at 4:00pm, we’d be looking to take advantage of the 32 parking spaces that would open up at that time,” Heagney explained. “We believe we should have access to it. There are no parking restrictions on the site.”
Still the commission worried 11 spots won’t be enough, considering there are six simulator bays, plus five employees, and the bar use.
“We like the idea, and businesses not being empty, and creative new uses,” Alban said. “We are sharing a concern. We’d like to see a table (illustrating) the demand. We would like some honest numbers.”
The item was left open.