Golf course redevelopment receives initial approval

By Jason Starr

Observer staff

A land development proposal that would transform the majority of the Catamount Country Club on Mountain View Road into a 141-home neighborhood cleared its first public review hurdle in June. 

A four-member quorum of the seven-member Williston Development Review Board approved a preliminary review of the application during a June 23 meeting and cleared the way for the applicants to compete for housing unit allocation at the board’s annual growth management meeting in March.

Landowner Alex Kourabanas is partnering with Chris Senesac under the name Ethan Allen Holdings LLC on the proposal. The Senesac family previously built the Chatham Woods neighborhood in Williston. 

Plans show the neighborhood establishing a new connection between Mountain View Road and Williston Road, via Raven Circle. Three holes of the nine-hole golf course would remain, as would the clubhouse. A neighborhood pool, community center, playground and athletic field are part of the plans. 

Under Williston’s growth management restrictions, the construction of the neighborhood would be limited to no more than 15 homes per year. Development proposals compete for up to 20 units of allocation annually. No one project can account for more than 75 percent of the 20 available units. 

At that pace, buildout of the neighborhood would take seven years. Builders typically wait until they’ve accumulated a critical mass of allocation before initiating construction, instead of building what they are allocated annually, said Williston Planner Emily Heymann.

The project will also require two more levels of review by the board — discretionary and final approval.

The proposal has drawn opposition from residents of neighboring subdivisions, who have questioned the scale of the neighborhood and the ability of Williston’s infrastructure to accommodate it. 

In its June 23 approval, the Development Review Board mandated a traffic study as well as a public site visit to be held as part of future deliberations on the project.