A project that erected a wall at the back of Oakley Country Club, and facing a nearby roadway, has drawn criticism from neighbors for pouring water into the area after storms. Oakley Country Club officials said that the project, when complete, will actually remove most of the runoff from that part of the golf course.
Jack Bartley, president of Oakley Country Club, said he believes the project will benefit the neighbors, but added that the club could have handled the project better.
“We are committed to work with neighbors,” Bartley said. “Where Oakley failed is we didn’t communicate with neighbors. We didn’t tell them what was going on.”
Work on the project, however, was stopped by the Town on April 12. While the plan for the drainage was approved by the Town, the project includes a wall more than 4 feet high. That also requires a building permit, which the project did not have.
“We worked with an expert who did not think we needed a building permit,” Bartley said. “We were notified (by the Town) that we needed one.”
The project has been scheduled to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals to get a change in the special permit.
Oakley also wanted to install an irrigation system to water the grass on top of the newly renovated area, Bartley said, but Town officials did not approve that part of the plan.
Historically, water has drained off of the golf course at the location, which is uphill from the homes on Arden Road. Before the project, the land sloped from the top of the hill to the street level. The project is designed to capture the water in the storm drainage system, said Oakley Golf Course Superintendent Pat Lange.
“This project will stop a huge portion of the water from going into people’s yards,” Lange said.
The land will be pitched so that water is funneled into a large drainage pipe, and down into a 500-gallon underground tank before going into the Town’s storm water system, Lange said.
Behind the wall is an area of gravel, five-feet deep, which will help drainage, Langue said.
New landscaping will be planted to block the view of the wall from the street, Bartley said.
Images of major runoffs have been captured by residents after the spring melt and during a heavy rain on April 15. Lange said part of the problem is a blocked storm drain grate on a right-of-way owned by the Town of Watertown.
“I uncovered it and put in silt fabric to stop that stuff from getting into the town’s system and clogging it up,” Lange said.
Lange said he believes the drainage grate was covered over during work on at a nearby home.