One new hotel or 200 new homes: Let's discuss it

The Martindale Hotel & Golf Club has a nice ring to it.

The 18-hole golf course alongside the Little Androscoggin River, established in 1921, is a challenging course with expansive views of the Twin Cities. A hotel could offer upscale accommodations and dining, plus space for corporate meetings, weddings and other events.

Does that sound like a destination that could potentially draw visitors to the Androscoggin River Valley, much like visitors flock to similar hotel and golf club resorts across the country?

It does.

Too bad it’s not to be.

On Monday, the Auburn City Council quashed any hope that Martindale Country Club owners Jim Day and Nick Glicos might have to discuss building a hotel on their property as part of a city-wide ordinance that would have created a process for recreation areas — like Martindale and Lost Valley — to create plans for hotels and restaurants on their properties.

By a vote of 5-2, councilors permanently tabled further discussion.

It was a shortsighted vote based on emotion, not on fact.

It is not a stretch to say that Day and Glicos preserved Martindale when, in 2009, the then-private course’s board of directors was unable to meet expenses and had to sell.

The duo has done a lot to improve the course and keep it open, including opening up play to nonmembers.

Martindale’s residential neighbors who oppose Day’s desire to discuss a potential hotel project say he is threatening them with the idea that, if not a golf course, the only other option would be housing.

That’s not a threat. It’s the truth.

When the former Martindale board decided to sell, it sent out six packets to potential buyers: Day and Glicos were the only ones intent on preserving the land as a golf course. The others all proposed turning it into tracts of housing.

Under city ordinance, the 200-acre golf course could be converted into a residential "Martindale Acres," with as many as 200 homes sprinkled across the property.

Those homes would require city-financed water and sewer lines, regular taxpayer-funded trash pickup, and the public education of the children living in the Acres, among other things. And, then, think of the traffic that would be generated by so many two-car families zipping up and down Beech Hill Road.

Martindale Country Club is one of the Twin Cities' gems, but the fact is that the best and highest use of the land — at least from the current owners’ financial perspective — is housing.

By its vote Monday stifling discussion on potential resort or recreational expansion at Martindale and elsewhere in the city, councilors rejected the very real potential to create jobs and draw new visitors to Auburn.

Rejecting that idea invites the reality of 200 new homes and the associated public expense that entails, never mind the loss of a historic golf course that enhances this community.

Talk about a threat.

We urge the City Council to reopen discussion, put aside emotion and look at the facts here.

Maybe a hotel on the fringe of the golf course doesn’t make sense, but councilors owe citizens the courtesy of genuine discussion of an ordinance that could best govern these kinds of projects. An ordinance that, if well-crafted, could make Auburn a richer, more vibrant community.

jmeyer@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.

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Comments

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I see your point, but...

I understand the fact that these plans will create jobs. Jobs however aren't worth anything if you can't earn a living without working three jobs. I've done it, it sucks. That's what has to change, the assumption that a job, where ever its at, is something you can live on. I knew several union hotel workers from New York city who were not making a livable wage. My own daughter works in the restaurant industry, she now lives in N Carolina, it doesn't pay any better but it costs less to live there.
Every time I've attempted to work in this state, I've been offered eight or nine dollars per hour. Hell, that's what I made back in the seventies. If a person is going to be able to live on his or her own, they need to make a livable income. Employers know that they will get people to accept these jobs eventually, but they end up with what they pay for. Your not going to find livable wages and benefits, at a fast food restaurant or a hotel.
The only way anything is going to change the economic disaster in this state and anywhere for that matter, is first get educated. It doesn't need to be a degree, even a good trade school will help. You then need the infrastructure to attract industry to the area. The days of coming in off the street, looking to get a job are over. Unless you have something to offer an employer. Your going to end up in the same rut as alot of people.
Tune in next week when I describe what happens when your working for eight dollars an hour, with no benefits, and then have a major medical problem. It ain't pretty.

Roger Moulton's picture

ha

To you I say life is what you make it. It's certainly not my fault you aren't qualified to obtain a job making more money. Those jobs if they aren't enough to support a family will at least make nice part time jobs for moms that don't need to work full time or for college students or whatever. We can't say we don't want a business unless they pay $15 an hour that won't work. There needs to be those jobs as well as high paying jobs. And again I say to you if you want a high paying job, earn it! I did and I dont' have a college education.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I wasn't going to reply but...

Mr Moulton, I was able to retire from one industry at forty four years of age, with plenty of savings and stock options. I then went back to school and earned my second college degree. I went back to work and made a very good income right here in Auburn. Its been six years since I became disabled, and I'm still quite comfortable.
I never said I couldn't find work, I'm just very picky about having an income.

Roger Moulton's picture

???

Okay so you are opposed to the Hotel because it's not the type of job you'd like to have? And I'm certainly not frazzled I enjoy these debates and just dont have the brain to mouth/keyboard filter that some have. lol

Roger Moulton's picture

???

Okay so you are opposed to the Hotel because it's not the type of job you'd like to have? And I'm certainly not frazzled I enjoy these debates and just dont have the brain to mouth/keyboard filter that some have. lol

Roger Moulton's picture

not from the area but hello this is a no brainer

You couldn't have said it any better. The only thing you said I'll disagree with is "maybe a hotel on the fringe of the golf course doesn't make sense". It absolutely makes sense. In times of a down economy how could you vote against something like this? And to the neighbors of the golf course I say suck it up. Hotel's are not normally loud places. If the traffic bothers you I say tough. When I think of just even one job being created or your concerns of traffic, I'll stay with the job. Don't forget boneheads that traffic brings their money with them and they buy gas, food, etc. from people in your town. Unless they are literally going to build it in your backyard, quit your whining. I have to laugh so hard when I see things like this. The people who are against this are probably the same people that say "lets create jobs in the area so our kids don't move away and can make a living here". Well it's due to ignorant people like you that would rather not see an extra couple cars or some lights than to have some jobs. THAT IS THE REASON OUR CHILDREN ARE LEAVING THE STATE. YOU ALL MAKE IT SO DIFFICULT TO START/MAINTAIN A PROFITABLE BUSINESS. YOU CAN'T HAVE IT ALL. If you want peace and quiet buy some land in the woods, live off the land, and stop voting so we can finally start this state in the right direction.

Dan Bilodeau's picture

NIMBY factor

Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) killed the first go at it. Why wasn't the neighborhood concerns reported? Why did the SJ not report how this was brought about, forcing this concept down the throats of a neighborhood community that was still in shock?

The recreational PUD ordinance is not common, ANYWHERE. Having a private consultant who had just previously resigned from the planning board and having worked as a planning a permitting director for Auburn should have known how other communities like Portland and Portsmouth utilize neighborhood meetings early in the process. This is common as to not waste time for so many.

The gentlemen who wrote the ordinance pretended the best way they could to make it look like a city wide ordinance, but after all the added criteria it only worked for Martindale and Mr. Day....not a coincidence that Mr., Day paid for the ordinance to be drafted, but to his defense Auburn didn't have the staff to do it.

I am not sure why Mr. Day wants to threaten the community with 200 houses when the property across the street (may be owned by Gendron) has recently been zoned as transitional industrial and would permit this type of resort facility. The road leading in from Hotel Road (how appropriate) might prove useful to the resort by closing a portion of it helping alleviate traffic concerns and allow an interconnect to existing resort infrastructure.. My only guess is if he used the land that he already owns he could leverage better financing and control of a project this size. So it comes down to money. We can't chase those with money to another community but we can all work a little harder and get a good investment done.

I'm hopeful this might come back as a win-win, and I think a little respect for the neighborhood goes a LONG WAY.

President, Lake Auburn Watershed Neighborhood Association
Member, City of Auburn Planning Board

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Well stated. NIMBY is just

Well stated. NIMBY is just another way of spelling MAINE. The people of Maine want almost everything that's imaginable, but most of them don't want any of it within their line of sight.

Roger Moulton's picture

I would not vote for you for anything.

I have to tell you Mr. Bilodeau that I find your comments disturbing and sense some selfishness and also that you are in this for what you think is best or your personal opinion. I think you'll find that when you were voted into this position people wanted you to put aside your opinion and truly look at what's best for your community AS A WHOLE. The way you refer to Mr. Day leaves one to believe that you don't peronally care a whole lot for him.....if I'm wright shame on you for allowing your personal like or dislike to affect your vote. I'm glad Mr. Day threatens with the housing. It's a legitimate threat and why wouldn't he do it. Who the heck are you or anyone else to tell him no you can't build a hotel but if you wanna spend a bunch more money and buy Gendron's property (at this point from the way I take you I'm assuming Mr. Gendron is a friend of yours) then you can do that. Well why don't you and the people in the neighborhood pool your money together buy Gendron's property and donate it to Mr. Day so he can put the hotel on the land you suggest. It's not up to you where he puts it and it's not fair to ask him to spend more money. I don't live in Auburn and I don't know Mr. Day or any of you for that matter. But this is just plain silly. Again it's guys like you that worry so much about preserving our neighborhoods and overlook business and jobs, that have ruined this economy. You know why people take their businesses' outta Maine and sometimes out of the country? It's so they don't have to waste a bunch of time and money just to be shot down by people like you who only see the tree that you like and not the whole forest that the rest of us so desperately need. Really Mr. Bilodeau you should step down from your position and allow an unbiased person who will vote for the community not for themselves to take the post. Thanks again for being a road block in improving our economy just so you and your friends can think your neighborhoods is a little prettier. Also want to point out that you listed President of the neighborhood association first before city planning board. I would be willing to bet you took this position solely to protect your silly neighborhood association full of uppity people that only care for themselves. AUBURN RESIDENTS I WOULD REMOVE THIS GUY FROM YOUR PLANNING BOARD ASAP!

Dan Bilodeau's picture

fact

Sorry, non of the relationships you are assuming are true. I blogged behind fact, I have been watching the progress through every step, I don't think you are there yet. Public hearings are where you might make a difference, that's what they are for, where were you?

Roger Moulton's picture

not a resident as I already stated.

I'm not a resident of Auburn that's why I wasn't there. If I were a resident you could be I'd be holding a sign at the next meeting saying "replace ALWNA.......ooopps I mean Dan Bilodeau. I'm sure I am missing something but from what I gather the only people opposed to this hotel are a few people that live in the area near the course. Again you are supposed to look out for the best for the community as a whole. If you've got one neighborhood that doesn't want it but it may provide 50 jobs then buck up be a man and tell that neighborhood while you understand their concerns you had to do what was best for AUBURN not _________neighborhood.

Jason Theriault's picture

Ummm, yeah

So you want him to open a hotel across the street on hotel road? That's half a mile away from the clubhouse.

This reminds me of George Lucas. He wanted to open up a film studio on his property in Marin County. His neighbors fought him tooth and nail, and won. They didn't want the additional traffic or influx of people in the exclusive area. But Lucas had the last laugh. He donated the land to a group who was going to build low income housing.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I wondered when you were

I wondered when you were finally going to chime in on this...

 's picture

Did Martindale demand TIF?

Not that I heard. So, presumably, private funding would pay for the construction of the new facility which, upon completion, would provide a sand-trap full of property tax dollars to the city, along with a bunch of new jobs and, overall, a real economic boost to the area. Evidently Auburn doesn't need or want this boost.

This seems like yet another instance of government picking winners and losers. Over the past 3.5 years, government, from DC on down, has an extremely lousy track-record in this area.

Dosh and other socialists: The best way for Auburn to "provide" housing for a poor person is to encourage the private sector to invest in the area and create a good job for that poor person so he can pay for his own housing.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Does the city need another hotel?

Unless the other new hotels are regularly turning away guests due to its capacity's. I don't think we need more hotels,and restaurants. Something in town to provide livable wages would be a better rout to take.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

There was an idea brought

There was an idea brought forward, but the voters shot it down, remember? It was called CASINO.

Roger Moulton's picture

Who do you think you are?

Just who do you think you are Mr. Earley? Who are you to say that we don't need another hotel? Okay Mr. Day we're sorry but you're gonna have to come up with another idea because Mr. Earley thinks we have enough hotels. Mr. Earley wants you to take your money and start an industrial place which I'm assuming you don't have much education on but you know it is Mr. Earley's town so you should listen. Pay attention, he wants to build the type of hotel that will BRING PEOPLE IN to stay at the hotel and golf(which of course they will spend money at other business' in town). He's not just trying to build another hotel for the people already coming here. The man is looking out for the community as well as himself, again trying to bring more tourists in not trying to steal customers from other businesses' I say kudos to you Mr. Day. Where I'm from we just recently had a restaurant open up and stole all it's employees from two businesses' already operating in town. It is trying to take business away from what's already there and your resident is trying to bring business in which may even help his competition. Is there any way we can trade them to Auburn and we can have Mr. Day?

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I'll tell you who I am...

I am a resident with as much right to my opinion as anyone else. If you don't agree with it to bad. Just don't tell me I'm not entitled to it.

Zack Lenhert's picture

Who are you to criticize

Who are you to criticize anyone else's opinion? It's his opinion, he's entitled to it. Should we build the hotel because Mr. Moulton said so? Mr. Moulton doesn't think we have enough hotels. Let's build some hotels for Mr. Moulton.

And its not just Mr. Earley that feels that way. If the community REALLY wanted this they would have shown up to town hall meeting and voiced their opinion. The people that did show up voiced their's, where was everybody else?

"Where I'm from we just recently had a restaurant open up and stole all it's employees from two businesses' already operating in town. It is trying to take business away from what's already there"

Where is the guarantee that this wouldn't happen in Auburn? You don't suppose Poland Spring would lose out on some weddings because of a new hotel?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

While Frank Sinatra sings,

While Frank Sinatra sings, "Stormy Weather", the flies and the spiders get along together.....

Roger Moulton's picture

have some intelligence

I don't know why you would come to a battle of brains unarmed. I never said I wanted hotels or that they should build them because I want them. I said let the man do what he wants with HIS money. Neither you or I should have a say in what he does unless it has a negative effect on a community and I don't ever recall reading a newspaper article claiming a hotel golf course was negative in anyway. And it's quite obvious why the others weren't at the meeting. The only people that go to those are people involved in the town government, old people with nothing better to do, and people that are there to fight for or against a proposal or law or whatever. So if I were an Auburn resident I would have stayed at home and assumed that the people in my town were smart enough to get this going as it brings in revenue. As far as taking some weddings away from Poland Spring you are probably right but isn't Poland Spring in POLAND? and even though it may take a wedding or two from them I bet it brings in more weddings that would have gone out of state or somewhere else so again kudos to him for trying to bring NEW business in. But since you are so adimantly against this I ask you what is it that would bother you about it? If it's the traffic by your house spare me your response because that's bs you don't own the road lady.

Jason Theriault's picture

A vacation resort = jobs

If they brought in a hotel and restaurant, they could create a resort like the mountains have(ie sugarloaf). That's a bunch of jobs and economic activity for the area.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Vacation resort in

Vacation resort in L/A=Foreclosure in 5 years.

Steve  Dosh's picture

One new hotel or 200 new homes: Let's discuss it

ed., 12.05.22 7 pm ? HST • Tuesday
Why does it have to be either \ or ?
Build a golfing community like Whisphering Pines in No. Car . then x-country ski and snowmobile in the wintertime , slednecks • Look in to the whole So. Car. Hilton Head live - in golfing concepts http://www.hiltonheadrentals.com
You have many options you haven't explored yet
Old folks' retirement homes ( high rise condominiums ) and campus a lå Brooksby Village , Peabody MA http://www.ericksonliving.com and others
Is this Martindale anywhere near the L \ A greater metropolitain municipal airport ? Build a John Travolta style airplane - home tarmack area . He has a 7 0 7 parked in his front yard that he still pilots . He does . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greystone_Airport . Think out side the boxes h t h , /s Steve

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Steve, we're talking about

Steve, we're talking about Lewiston-Auburn, Maine here; not Dade County, Florida.

Roger Moulton's picture

That's why!

It has to be either or because it's his "expletive" money. I am going to assume he threatens with the house thing because that's what all other perspective owners would have done. This man did your community a huge favor by buying and maintaining the golf course. A HUGE favor. So know guys like Mr. Bilodeau can brag about how close they live to a golf course instead of it being full of low income house filled by somalians and other people that will move here for our welfare. Okay so this guy did your community this favor and now isn't making enough money, as the golf course already wasn't. Help the guy out he saved your golf course let him have his hotel so he can sustain YOUR golf course. IT'S CALLED ONE HAND WASHES THE OTHER. HE WASHED YOUR HAND AND YOU BIT HIS. Shame on every single one of you against his wishes to build a hotel. And to you Dosh I'm gonna say the same thing I did to Mr. Earley, who are you or anyone else for that matter to tell this guy how to spend his money. Did you help him earn it?

 's picture

huh?

So, it all boils down to a choice between 200 acres of "low income house filled by somalians", or 200 acres of golf with a hotel? Okay....

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Come on, Lil...do you really

Come on, Lil...do you really see those people you referred to moving out to the Martindale Country Club area? Free housing wouldn't get them out there.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Carefull Mr.Dosh

Sounds like Mr. Moulton is getting a little frazelled....

Roger Moulton's picture

hahahahaha

To this comment I say everything in the post that this was replied to was either right or good enough that Mr. Earley could not argue against it since all he said is I'm getting frazzled. do you disagree that he saved the golf course? do you disagree that we should try top help him since he did that?

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