The county Planning Board said yesterday that a proposed 18-hole golf course in Columbia is within zoning restrictions for the 204-acre site and can be built.
Despite the 4-0 vote, with one abstention, one board member expressed reservations.
"Cramming a golf course into this site raises the very delicate concern of deforestation," said board member Dale Schumacher. "I don't think this is a perfect fit here.
"I'm surprised this short of a course is being proposed for this site. My sense is it won't serve serious golfers all that well."
Mr. Schumacher said that despite those personal concerns he would vote in support of the development plan because it appeared to meet county zoning requirements for the property.
Board member Joan Lancos said she had had concerns about the environmental impact of the project. But she decided after walking the property that it had originally been intended for use as a golf course by Columbia's developer, The Rouse Co., and that the plan included ample plantings of new trees and other vegetation.
"What this proposal amounts to is a reconstruction of a golf course," she said.
A portion of the property served as the Allview Golf Course until 1985 when the course was closed by the Columbia Association after a lease on the land ended.
In approving the development plan for the project, the Planning Board also voted to allow the owner of the property, Howard Research and Development Corp., a Rouse Co. subsidiary, to use about two acres of open space land for parking.
The board also voted to require the developer of the project, the Columbia Association, which manages Columbia's recreational and community programs, to add additional trees and other screening on the west side of the 14th fairway.
The fairway would be adjacent to homes on Amesbury Road in the Running Brook neighborhood. Many Running Brook residents have testified against the project in public hearings. Ms. Lancos suggested theadditional screening.
Board members also urged the association to follow county noise restrictions, which bar loud equipment or machinery use close to residences between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The concern among board members was that mowing on the course not be permitted before 7 a.m.