What Next for the Woodbridge Country Club?

Woodbridge – An estimated 300 citizens of the Town of Woodbridge crowded into the Center Gym to hear the Board of Selectman discuss the financial status of the Woodbridge Country Club and the options available to the town. This was followed by a period of public comment.

Depending on your perspective, it is the classic story of a wealthy community bailing out a failing country club with overtones of a ‘not in my back yard’ philosophy or it is the classic story of concerned citizens gathering to protect the community and its open space from the efforts of a greedy developer.

Depending on your perspective, it was a discussion about a town increasing its debt load during a financial crisis or about a town acting to preserve the character of the town, thereby protecting property values and protecting against an increase in taxes that the developments increased need of services would cost.

Yet in the end, what it really boiled down to was the question of whether or not the town should take an active role in determining what happens to the largest land parcel in town.

For now, the town seems unified. The selectmen voted unanimously to authorize the town to enter into negotiations with the Woodbridge Country Club to explore options for the parcel that will be in the best interest of all the citizens of Woodbridge.

On Sunday, the Woodbridge Country Club will gather to consider the proposals of the town, of the developer, and of anyone else that chooses to make a proposal. The members of the Woodbridge Country Club should be heartened to know that the people of Woodbridge feel strongly about what happens to the land. The developer also needs to carefully consider the showing, realizing that many of these 300 citizens are likely to fight every step of his efforts to develop the land.

What the Country Club will do, what the developer will do, what will happen in the courts, and what will happen moving forward remains very up in the air, and based on the discussions of small groups of people after the public comment section of the meeting, there is not consensus about what should be done with the land.

All the more reason for the town to enter into the discussion and seek a more deliberative process about what should happen with the land.