Hawk Valley homes planned for November

By on August 17, 2016
Photo by Patrick Burns At Hawk Valley Golf Course, Jim Summers, right, prepares to award the winners of the Ephrata Area Chamber of Commerce trophy. The Chamber was told that Hawk Valley was closing its front nine and building homes on the Brecknock Township course. The property is owned by Landmark Homes of Ephrata Township.

Photo by Patrick Burns
At Hawk Valley Golf Course, Jim Summers, right, prepares to award the winners of the Ephrata Area Chamber of Commerce trophy. The Chamber was told that Hawk Valley was closing its front nine and building homes on the Brecknock Township course. The property is owned by Landmark Homes of Ephrata Township.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landmark has renewed plans for The Villages at Hawk Valley, which would replace fairways and sand traps with houses on the course, which is bisected by Crestview Drive.

By Patrick Burns

Restored to its former splendor only a few years ago, Hawk Valley Golf Club will end operations as an 18-hole course in less than two months.

Several sources, including workers at the club have confirmed that home construction will begin in November on the front nine at Hawk Valley Golf Club.

Owner Landmark Homes of Ephrata Township has not returned several calls made over the past few months to verify the closure but customers who hold annual tournaments and golf leagues there were told to look elsewhere in 2017.

Andrea Glass, executive director of Ephrata Area Chamber of Commerce, learned the course was closing nine of its 18 holes in May when she tried to renew the group’s annual golf outing there.

Brecknock Township officials have acnowledged the plans but referred questions to Landmark.

However, Brecknock Supervisors in 2011 granted Landmark conditional final approval for the first phase of a 159-home development project.

Landmark completed settlement on the property on March 3, 2011 according to county records. It paid $1.925 million for the 121.7-acre property, which is divided into four parcels, the records show.

In 2007, supervisors had given preliminary approval for an identical plan to former owner James Fricke after a two-year battle with Hawk Valley residents who opposed it.

Landmark has renewed plans for The Villages at Hawk Valley, which would replace fairways and sand traps with houses on the course, which is bisected by Crestview Drive.

Supervisors in 2011 approved Phase One of the project, which would include the construction of 71 homes on the first nine holes of the course. Sources said Phase One will begin in November.

In 2011, a Landmark spokesman said all 18 holes of the golf course would remain open at least for one more summer, and that Landmark would operate a nine-hole course for at least four more years before the second phase of building begins on the “back nine” portion of the course.

“If the home market picks up, we could break ground in the fall,” the spokesman said in March 2011. “But if it doesn’t, we’ll concentrate on golf.”

The housing market didn’t pick up and Landmark got into the golf business.

It hired Paul Zimmerman to revamp the course that was in serious decline as Fricke concentrated on his home building project and demolished its prominent clubhouse.

Zimmerman, formerly the director of land acquisition for Landmark, became the popular groundskeeper and ambassador for Hawk Valley.

He rebuilt the business – helped by Landmark’s capital improvements that included new golf carts – to boost the number of rounds played at Hawk from 14,000 to 31,000 per year.

Landmark in 2011 said it was considering opening a sales office at Hawk Valley. Homes are expected to have a typical lot size of between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet, or about a half acre.

The site is within the Bowmansville Village Growth Area, and zoned low-density residential. The development will be served by public sewer and on-lot water, according to the plans approved by Brecknock Township.

Phase One of the project is planned on the east side of Crestview Drive, between Lauschtown Road and School Road.

The project includes significant stormwater-management work that involves shaving down a steep hill along Crestview Drive, which borders Hawk Valley’s first tee box.

Those plans have been extended at least once and will not expire before 2017. However, sources close to the situation say a federal environmental, agreement associated with the project is approaching expiration.

In 2005, residents who own condominiums around the edges of the golf course organized Citizens for a Better Brecknock to oppose Fricke’s original plan to build homes and tear down Hawk Valley Golf Course.

The association had a 13-member steering committee and a mailing list of more than 300 people. It raised about $15,000 in donations from the 121 condominium owners and residents of adjacent neighborhoods to fight the plan.

While the association eventually lost its battle, the poor economy helped preserve the golf course, although it operated without a clubhouse. Fricke razed the once bustling pro shop in anticipation of building the new development, but a numb housing market derailed his plans.

Patrick Burns is social media editor and staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.¶

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Social media editor and staff writer for Ephrata Review and Lititz Record Express.

One Comment

  1. Ken Martin

    August 22, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    How about interviewing the people who live here and do not want the course developed? With the money Land Mark put into restoring the course, we had some hope that maybe just one time a Company would put the goodwill of the community ahead of profits. They are making money on the Golf business and by working together the community has offered to help them make more even money by working to bring in more play and events.

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