Thunderbird Hills owner seeks commercial zoning

HURON TWP. The owner of the Thunderbird Hills Golf Course is seeking commercial zoning in hopes of opening up 176 acr
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

HURON TWP.

The owner of the Thunderbird Hills Golf Course is seeking commercial zoning in hopes of opening up 176 acres for possible development.

The golf course's owner, Bruce Palmer, declined to comment Wednesday but told the local planning commission's Technical Advisory Committee on Friday that "the golf industry isn't what it used to be" and he wants to have options for commercialdevelopment.

Palmer told the committee he has no specific plans for the site, located near Ohio 2 and Ohio 13.

He said one idea is to have arestaurant and winery similar to Mon Ami.

Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Palmer said he wasn't immediately prepared to discuss his plans.

Palmer's application to rezone the Thunderbird Hills Golf Course from R-1 residential zoning to C-2 commercial zoning will be taken up by the Erie Regional Planning Commission when it meets at 6:30 p.m. today at the BGSU Firelands Cedar Point Center.

The committee has recommended approval of Palmer's application, and Tim King, senior planner with the planning commission, said he agrees with the recommendation.

King emphasized, however, that the final decision will be made by Huron Township's board of trustees. The planning commission's vote will only be a recommendation, he said.

King said C-2 zoning allows a wide range of general commercial activity including bars, taverns, restaurants, theaters, veterinary hospitals, retail establishments and car lots.

"It would open up a plethora of things to be done," King said.

King said typically he would be in favor of asking Palmer to submit a planned unit development plan, which is a detailed plan showing exactly how he intends to use the property. Such a plan also helps the developer by giving him flexibility on setbacks and other zoning regulations, King said.

In this case, however, Thunderbird Hills is at the intersection of two major highways, so it's an area that lends itself to commercial development.

"Therefore, we see it as a reasonable request," King said.

Palmer told the committee a development plan is not appropriate because he has no firm plans.