SNOW HILL – River Run will gain 280 homes, not the 408 originally approved, in the final build out of the community.
The Worcester County Planning Commission approved the planned unit development plan last week. The plan includes single-family homes, townhouses, a reconstructed clubhouse and a driving range.
“We think we’ve come up with a fairly good plan for you,” consultant Larry Whitlock told the Planning Commission.
The design keeps construction away from the waterfront and uses natural build zones, which means less tree clearing, he said.
“I think for the community it’s turned out better,” said developer Lew Meltzer. “The goal is just to finish it in my lifetime and make it better.”
Planning Commissioner Jeanne Lynch said the project has improved. “My only thing is increasing the buffer whenever we can and keeping the trees,” said Lynch.
Ten years ago, Meltzer said he and the Planning Commission had a fight over cutting down a single tree.
The plan will not see any more changes, Ed Tudor, director of Development Review and Permitting, said, since Meltzer has done all the changes possible without losing the site’s exemption under the critical area law.
“One shot. This is it,” Tudor said. “We’re comfortable with it.”
The planning commission questioned some of the details, including the reconstruction of the clubhouse, which was moved back from the water and will be slightly smaller than the old structure. There will be three guest suites on the second floor.
“We have never charged. We’re not going into the rental business,” Meltzer said.
Meltzer might allow homeowners to use the suites for guests for a nominal cleaning charge, but the suites are intended for visiting dignitaries, like golf course designer Gary Player who has visited in the past.
The driving range’s location near residences also elicited concern. Planning Commission Chair Carolyn Cummins said she is concerned about golf balls flying into people’s homes.
The driving range is set well back from the homes and the edge is bordered by a 60 foot right of way.
“This is a short driving range. We’re going to use a different type of ball,” Meltzer said. He described the ball as a whiffle ball – golf ball cross. “This goes halfway. It floats on water,” he said.
Cummins said that the reduced density is the opposite of what the commission likes to see, but that the Comprehensive Plan also calls for density reduction in certain areas, like the River Run site, which is just north of Ocean Pines.