Indoor Golf Training Facility Coming Soon

By Jann Wiswall

After holding a public hearing on the matter at its Jan. 26 meeting, the Town of Ellicottville’s Planning Board approved a special use permit and the site plan applications for a new fitness center to be located on Route 219 in the former Marble Works building. The new center will be called Groove Fitness.

The owners of the future business, husband and wife team Phillip Vogt and Dionne Kress, presented their initial plans to the board at its December meeting. Since then, they made the board’s requested revisions to their parking, lighting, signage and landscaping plans. Those revised plans met with the board’s approval as presented. Some minor changes to the site’s new sanitary waste disposal system will be worked out between the contractor and the town’s engineer. In addition, the board asked the owners to widen the “throat openings” on both sides of the driveway.

Several permits from several state agencies also are required as part of the process since the business is located off a state highway.

After conducting a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) on the plan, during which the board determined it “will not result in significant adverse environmental impact,” the site plan was approved with the conditions noted above.

Next, the planning board heard from John and Jake Northrup who are making mostly interior changes to a Northrup property just across Route 219 from the new fitness center. John Northrup plans to turn part of the space in one building into a two- to three-bedroom apartment. The other building will become an indoor golf training facility run by John’s son and golf pro, Jake Northrup. The training facility will feature a 10×15’ golf simulator, a blackout enclosure, a launch monitor, a putting green and all sorts of other top-of-the-line technology in vogue these days for golfers who want to improve their skills over the winter months. Lessons will be scheduled by appointment only.

Because there are two buildings of mixed use involved, the planning board classified the application as a Master Planned Development, and because of that classification, the plan had to be presented to the county planning board. That board, however, chose not to weigh in on the matter at its January meeting since it was not considered a countywide issue.

The town planning board conducted its SEQR, determined the project will not result in “significant adverse environmental impact,” and set a public hearing on the project for its Feb. 23 meeting.

Finally, the board reviewed and approved a sign permit for EllicottVillas. The design presented, a variation on the old, included space for a phone number, but phone numbers and other marketing information cannot be permanent features on permanent signs per town rules. As a result, the board approved the sign on the condition that the phone number portion of the sign is temporary and removable and that, once all units are sold, the phone number is to be removed.

The next meeting of the Town Planning Board will be held on Monday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. in the Town/Village Hall.