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Country club owner Todd Driscoll explains plans to resurrect the golf course on River Road.

Rejuvenated Clarksburg Golf Course Eyed for Off-Grid Living

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The owner of the former North Adams Country Club confirmed his plans last week to renovate the clubhouse and recreate a nine-hole course.
And set up a cluster of "tiny homes" to cater to second home owners and vacationers. 
The course on River Road has been in limbo for the last eight years as plans to build an 18-hole golf course fell to the wayside, materials were take from the land and a solar array installed. 
But owner Todd Driscoll, who came into the picture about four years ago, is still hoping to rejuvenate the course on a smaller scale, he told the Planning Board last week.
"We don't want to make it more than it is," he said last Wednesday. "It's going to be a big practice facility. And I think that's going to lure people and that's our plan. And I think with the houses, it's a really important thing because I think the housing development will sell if that golf course really nice." 
Driscoll spoke to the board, and to the Conservation Commission immediately afterward, of his plans to remake some of the existing greens, layout a practice area and set up an irrigation system. A new well was drilled in the far northeast corner and a public water supply designation has been requested. 
"What we like to accomplish this year is to get the irrigation system in, which is what we're doing upstairs with the Con Comm," said Michael MacDonald, representing BVD LLC. "That requires quite an expenditure of money. So we'd like to know that the Planning Board is on board with re-establishing the golf course before we take that step. ... 
"Re-establishing or establishing golf courses in today's environment is not something that's being done, in fact, they are being closed all across the country."
Driscoll rolled out plans — still dubbed Boulder Creek Golf Club from the original designs — and showed the board where the greens would be placed and how they should be outside the wetlands areas. 
The clubhouse has been taken down to its original structure, Driscoll said, and reframed and brought up to code.
Three to five small homes are being considered in partnership with B&B Micro Manufacturing to start with the potential of up to 15 or 20. The homes won't be so much "tiny homes" as small modulars on permanent foundations.
The homes would be LEED-certified and would have solar panels to be off the grid, although some type of small heater from an alternative source and backup would be needed. Maintenance would be done probably through a home association so the owners wouldn't be responsible for mowing or plowing. 
"We're not going to actually build them and we're going to team up with B&B," Driscoll said. "And they're not going to build any until they're sold. Their plan was to do one model [for show.] ... All we're doing is getting them water and getting them sewer. ....
"The problem is the water. To get water from there to that clubhouse is over $200,000 so we have to sell more than three or the whole project is pretty pretty rough." 
He said having the golf course would be key to selling the houses and that the course probably couldn't stand on its own. However, Driscoll said talks with local high school and college teams shown a lot of interest in being able to use the course again as well as the possibility of kids' camps. 
The first step is a special permit to re-establish the golf course since its use is considered "abandoned" after two years. And then to work with both boards to get permitting for irrigation system and the course layout. The housing would require yet another permit, and permission for sewer hookups to the Hoosac Water Quality District. 
The goal at present is get the course completed and operating for opening next spring and a model home installed on the site by fall. 
"It's a perfect empty-nester type of home. You can practice your golf game, we have two or three, four months a year and then go to Florida," Driscoll said. "It's turnkey, zero maintenance for the the owners and the price target we're trying to get it is very reasonable." 

Tags: golf course,   tiny homes,   

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Debate Over Solar Carports Heats Up in Clarksburg

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Planners Erin Scott, Gregory Vigna, Vincent King and Karin Robert look over the plans for the solar carports. 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The Planning Board says the structures at the former country club are ground-mounted solar arrays; the developer says they are carports with solar-panel roofs. 
The debate over the definition of the structures — and whether there was a permit issued for their construction — lead to heated exchanges between town officials and the owner at last week's Planning Board meeting. 
"They're solar arrays masquerading as carports," said Planning Board member Karin Robert.
The three structures were installed by BVD Solar, a solar development company owned by Todd Driscoll, who also owns the golf course. Driscoll pointed out several times during the evening that he does not own structures but builds them for solar companies. 
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