Country club dining: Restaurant, inn planned for club

AMHERST – The idea of an inn, function space and a restaurant at the Amherst Country Club received strong encouragement from the planning board recently.

Kenneth Clinton of Meridian Land Services brought his 12-year-old proposal to the board Jan. 2, for an informal discussion and a brief history of the plans.

In 2007 he had gotten a variance from the zoning board of adjustment and offered it to the planning board as a discussion item. But then the economy soured, and the plan was never pursued.

“I had a good sense the board was in favor,” he said. “A restaurant with the country club is a no brainer. There is plenty of need in town.”

Everyone on the board seemed to agree.

The plan now, as then, calls for the house on the corner of the entrance to be converted into an inn.

A building similar to the barn that was once on the property would be rebuilt for function space and a small restaurant.

“We almost want to do the very same thing,” Clinton said.

The ZBA approval has expired, and the plan would have to seek another variance. The property is in the town’s rural-residential zone.

Also part of the original plan was a day spa, though that idea had been dropped 12 years ago.

Board member Marilyn Peterman said a spa is a great idea, and as for the plan as a whole, “I think I favored it in 2007, and more so now.”

Clinton is representing the Susan M. Currier Trust. His clients are still thinking about the size of the inn and restaurant, he said, and “architecturally, we aren’t there yet, but we still think it’s an excellent idea.”

Kathy Cleveland may be reached at 673-3100 or