In the midst of a nationwide downturn in the golf industry, the Town of Brookhaven is working toward preserving its golf courses, and it hopes to do so through zoning.
Newsday reported Monday that Brookhaven plans to rezone its town-owned courses as "golf course districts," a newly created zoning category that would prevent them from being developed for housing. Though the article fails to mention any courses by name, the change would affect Brookhaven's courses at Mill Pond in Medford and Rolling Oaks in Rocky Point, which are currently zoned as residential.
A public hearing will be held in Farmingville on March 2 to discuss the zoning plan.
Besides the courses and clubhouses themselves, Brookhaven's "golf course districts" would allow for other facilities like catering halls, restaurants and health clubs. Homes, non-golf-related offices and retail stores would not be permitted, according to Newsday.
The initial zoning change does not apply to privately owned public courses in Brookhaven, which include Tallgrass Golf Course, Willow Creek Golf & Country Club, Spring Lake Golf Club, Pine Ridge Golf Club, Middle Island Country Club, Rock Hill Golf & Country Club, Pine Hills Country Club and Heatherwood Golf Course. Newsday said some courses balked at zoning restrictions over financial concerns, though the town plans to address those facilities in other ways in the future.
Talks of golf-course preservation come at a time when several courses have recently closed or plan to close in and around Brookhaven, including The Links at Shirley in 2010, which has since been replaced by housing. Calverton Links closed in 2013, and Tallgrass in Shoreham is slated to be replaced by a solar farm.
Meanwhile, the article also alludes to several privately owned golf courses in Brookhaven Town that are considering building residences on their property and, in the case of the par-60 Heatherwood Golf Club in Centereach, possibly replacing nine of its holes with senior housing. (The article does not mention the course by name.) A zoning change to make way for the addition of a retirement community at Heatherwood was approved in 2014.
Ironically, Mill Pond, one of the courses protected under the planned zoning change, was once a 27-hole facility that lost nine of its holes to a residential development in the mid 2000s.