The message given last week to developers hoping to turn Riviera Golf Club into a residential subdivision was clear: less density and more green space.
The Planning and Zoning Commission heard a concept plan March 13 for 284 single-family homes on 168 acres occupied by Dublin's oldest golf club.
The concept plan is the first step in the development process.
If Charles Ruma, who purchased the land, decides to proceed with residential development, he must get approval from the city on a preliminary development plan, rezoning, final development plan and platting on the property.
The land is zoned rural on 66.6 acres in Union County and restricted suburban residential on the 93 acres in Franklin County. The 8.4 acres in Delaware County is zoned restricted suburban residential.
"That would allow 181 homes per current zoning," said Dublin Planner Claudia Husak.
The concept that went before the commission, however, proposed 284 single-family lots ranging from 75 to 100 feet wide with 58 acres of open space. The plan would require a rezoning to planned unit development, or PUD.
Riviera Golf Club, like some other golf clubs in Dublin, has experienced financial problems in recent years. The club was Dublin's first and has run its course, Ruma said.
"They've had severe financial difficulties and they just can't make it anymore," he said, noting that the course is not up to PGA standards and the clubhouse has remained largely unchanged since its construction in the 1970s.
"These guys cannot operate the golf course through this year," Ruma said. "It's going to close."
The site, which borders Jerome High School, Grizzell Middle School, Muirfield Village, Tartan West, Celtic Estates and Belvedere, is the last large undeveloped piece of land in northwest Dublin, Ruma said.
"We all live here," he said. "I'm telling you this because I'm not some highfalutin developer here to pillage the land."
Commission members and dozens of residents at the meeting weren't pleased with the proposal, though.
The density of 1.7 homes per acre was a sticking point for commission members, especially with a density of 1.27- to 1.8-homes per acre in surrounding developments.
"The density is not even close. One of the traditions we have in Dublin is for things to get better and better," commission member Warren Fishman said, adding that the density in Riviera should be lower than its neighbors.
"Typically we hold the developer to a standard that is higher than your neighbor," Commission Chairwoman Chris Amorose Groomes agreed.
Commission members also asked Ruma to put green space that could be used as parkland into the development. Current green space was part of road setbacks and floodplain areas.
"It needs to be open space that's usable," commission member Amy Kramb said.
A few commission members lamented the loss of the golf course and green space, while one other recommended a whole new concept.
"I would prefer this remain a golf course," commission Vice Chairman Richard Taylor said, adding that if it must be developed, it could become something other than more single-family homes. "What we really need in this area is neighborhood services."
A small commercial area at Tara Hill and Muirfield drives is busy and draws foot traffic from surrounding neighborhoods, Taylor said.
With feedback from commission members and residents, Ruma can return to the drawing board and bring back a preliminary development plan and rezoning request, if he decides to proceed. He also said he was open to selling the land for park space.