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A proposed condominium complex overlooking the Fountaingrove Golf and Athletic Club has club members upset it could mar their poolside views of wooded hillsides.

The Terrazzo at Fountaingrove project proposes 66 condominium units just north of the outdoor pool and spa enjoyed by about 1,000 club members and their families.

Members of the private club, where dues run about $600 a month for a family, have a long list of concerns about the project, from the dust and noise during two years of construction to residents' use of a club access road.

But the single biggest complaint is the size and scale of the buildings that loom large over their Olympic-size pool and hot tubs.

"Who wants to try to relax at poolside staring into a 50-foot high wall of apartments?" said Jerry Gladstone, 67.

The project had been scheduled to go before the Santa Rosa Planning Commission Thursday, but the hearing was canceled Friday after opponents submitted additional comments and reports.

Gladstone, a retired Agilent Technologies vice president, has been a member of the athletic club since it opened in 2004 and works out there every day.

Gladstone and other members also are suspicious about the project because one of the developers is Bill Carle, the former club president.

Gladstone notes that Carle was on the board in 2008 when it signed off on various easements that set the stage for development of the 7.5-acre parcel.

"Doesn't that sound fishy?" Gladstone said.

Current board president Randy Seelye said Carle was one of the 18 founders who took the club private in 2003. To help finance the deal, the club spun off several parcels, including the property that became Varenna senior community.

At that time, Carle acquired an interest in the hillside parcel he's now trying to develop. An agreement in 2008 required condominium owners to be members of the athletic club and specified other details that would allow the project to be built. Carle abstained from the vote on the agreement, Seelye said. His term ended in 2008 and he quit the club in 2011.

Club members expected a project of perhaps 50 units, with many located up the hill and farther away from the pool, Seelye said. But an early version of the project called for 66 units next to the pool and 17 larger homes terraced across the hilltop, hence the name Terrazzo.

Following City Hall concerns, those hilltop units have since been eliminated, but the 66 units near the pool remain.

"We're not saying they can't build something there. We're just saying it's too big," Seelye said.

The plan calls for all the development to take place on the lower 4.5 acres of the site. It would include 153 parking spaces, most of them under the buildings. Residents are expected to generate 383 vehicle trips per day, accessing the complex through the club entrance.

Hugh Futrell, Carle's development partner in the deal, said he knows the project has stirred passionate opposition. But it has been exhaustively reviewed by the city and meets all applicable land use policies, he said.

"I think this is an extremely well-designed project that is completely consistent with all the rules," Futrell said.

Erin Morris, City Hall's senior planner for the project, has written a "mitigated negative declaration" for the project that essentially says it won't have a significant impact on the environment.

<NO1><NO>Despite visual simulations that show the condominiums looming <NO1><NO>over the athletic club's pool, Morris <NO1><NO>concluded that because the building is stepped up the hillside and trees on the upper portion of the site will be preserved, the project would "not result in significant visual contrast" provided the club adds vegetation to shield views of the complex.

Club members who criticize the visibility of the project neglect to mention that the units are in a "resort" designation and are required to be designed in such a way that they are integrated with the rest of the club, Futrell said.

"Not only is it common sense that a project on a neighboring parcel would be visible, but in this case the zoning and General Plan make it inevitable," Futrell said.

The club and the Fountaingrove Homeowners Association have hired lawyers and land use consultants to fight the city's environmental conclusions. The reports they delivered to the city last week included technical reports from experts on the traffic, natural resource and visual impacts of the project, Morris said.

"It's way too much to review quickly and process," Morris said.

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