BY MAUREEN WERTHER
A proposal to build a 170-unit housing development
on the site of the Eagle Crest Golf Course
could take six months or more to be approved by
the Town of Clifton Park Planning Board. But,
that’s OK said owner Bill Paulsen.
He has owned and operated the golf course
since 1991 and he has no plans to close anytime
According to Paulsen, ultimately, the parcel of
land would be worth more as land for construction
than as a turnkey golf operation. So he is looking
into the housing situation.
“If we are planning for retirement down the
road, this kind of project is a very long process. If I
decide to retire in 10 years or so, I don’t want to wait
five additional years [for the housing project to
take shape] to finally have the project ready to go.”
Paulsen said he is frustrated by the rumors and
newspaper articles written about the proposal.
“The golf course, the driving range and the banquet
facility remain open and going strong,” he said.
Paulsen recently signed a lease with Nichols
Food Service to run the banquet facility. He had
run the banquet component of the operation for
several years, but decided it would be better to let
someone else take over who could expand that
part of the business.
With Nichols in charge, they hope to offer more
special occasion events as they had in the past, such
as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day brunches. They
also plan to attract more couples planning their
weddings. In the past, weddings were a frequent
event at Eagle Crest and Paulsen is confident that,
under Nichols Food Service, they will increase.
As far turning Eagle Crest into a new residential
area, Paulsen cited several statistics in his plan that
point to its viability looking ahead.
The mixed residential development, called “Eagle
Crest Plantation,” would be comprised of 170
housing units on the 208.3 acre property. Carriage
homes would be built on 10,000-square-foot lots
and traditional homes on 13,000-square-foot lots,
using 68.8 acres. The lots would be set back from
the existing roads and neighboring residences
and existing trees would be preserved, according
to the proposal.
Another 57.7 acres of land would be dedicated
to the town as park land. The remaining 81.8 acres
would be utilized as common space that would be
maintained by a homeowners’ association.
The plan also calls for direct access to the open
space and trails from each residential parcel. There
would be parking and a walking pathway for use
by residents visiting the park land. The combined
139.5 acres of common open space and town park
would protect 68 percent of the site as undeveloped,
the proposal states.
According to the World Golf Foundation, the
industry has lost approximately five million golfers
since 2009 and, locally, Eagle Crest Golf Course has
been seeing a drop-off of business that mirrors the
At the same time, the proposal says the
number of people aged 55-plus in Clifton Park
has increased from 20.8 percent in 2000 to 28.3
[percent in 2010. The projection for 2020 has that
population growing to 33.9 percent. The proposed
housing community would provide additional
housing for that segment.
The smaller-sized homes would offer an alternative
for empty nesters who have raised their
children in the community and want to remain,
but don’t want a large home.
Once the Town Board is satisfied with the proposal,
it will be sent to the Planning Board. But,
for the foreseeable future, the 18-hole course and
driving range will stay open.