Mini Golf Approved, But Open Hours Not Settled

By: William F. Galvin

Harwich news.

HARWICH — The planning board last week approved site plan permits for the18-hole miniature golf course to be located next to Bud’s Go Karts on the corner of Route 28 and Sisson Road, but there remains an outstanding issue over the hours of operation.

The attorney for the course developers said he'll return to the zoning board of appeals, which approved a variance for the project earlier this year, to get an interpretation of the 10 p.m. closing time mandated in that decision.

The mini-golf course permitting process dates back to February, and over time the proposal was reduced from a 36-hole to an 18-hole course. The appeals board issued a variance for the project because two-thirds of the course will be located in a residential zone on the Emulous E. Hall Realty Trust property. The applicants are Steve Gopoyan and Swazi Osev, who plan on leasing the property for the course.

The planning board held a hearing on the special permits in September, but continued the session to Oct. 6 to work out wording issues in the motion. Two outstanding issues were raised by attorney David Reid, representing residents of Beach Plum Condominiums, located to the east side of the proposed course. He was pushing for language in the decision requiring the light at the top of a lighthouse on one of the holes to be shielded and to have the light turned off when the course is closed. Attorney Andrew Singer, representing Gopoyan and Osev, said his clients had no problem with that condition.

The other issue was the closing time for the course. Reid said the appeals board variance states the course must close at 10 p.m., but Singer said his clients have a different interpretation on the closing time. Singer said he told the appeals board that the plan was to close at the same time as the adjacent business, Bud’s Go Karts, which often operates to 11 p.m. or later during the summer.

Singer and Gopoyan each said the plan is to sell tickets for the mini-golf course until 10 p.m. A round of golf is anticipated to take 45 to 50 minutes, so the course would close about the same time as the go-cart business.

But Town Planner Charleen Greenhalgh said the appeals board language is very specific, setting the operating hours in season (June, July August) seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and off season (shoulder months) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Closing time is clearly at 10 p.m., Greenhalgh said. If the applicants need to have that amended, they need to go back to the board of appeals, she said.

“The board of appeals established a decision that is very clear cut and clean. I believe it’s very specific,” Greenhalgh said. “It’s a residential zone, that’s why it’s a 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. restriction.”

Reid said the planning board has the authority to impose conditions and the board should include that restriction.

But Singer took exception, saying he made it clear to the appeals board that the course would shut down when Bud’s Go Kart closes. He argued the last tickets to the course could be sold at 10 p.m. Singer said the location is heavily commercial with a supermarket across the street and the go carts operating until 11 p.m. The Commercial Highway One District portion of the property could have been developed with business that operate 24 hours a day, he said.

“We’re clear how we interpret it,” Singer said. “It looks like we will go back to the board of appeals to interpret it.”

The planning board approved a motion setting the hours from 10 a.m. to a close of business not exceeding 10 p.m. Provisions shielding the lighthouse light were also approved.