New developers of the old Vineyard Acres II subdivision in Edgartown have filed an application with the Edgartown zoning board of appeals to build a private 18-hole golf club on the site once planned for 148 houses.

The Vineyard Golf Club Inc. filed its application with the board of appeals last week for a special permit for a private, nonprofit club. A public hearing on the plan is expected sometime in September. Like the golf plan for the MacKenty property on the Edgartown Great Pond, the Vineyard Golf Club proposal is also expected to be referred to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as a development of regional impact (DRI).

A 245-acre property off the West Tisbury Road in the rural perimeters of Edgartown, Vineyard Acres II was created in the 1980s by a group of Rhode Island developers. The cluster subdivision was never developed and most of the land is currently owned by Fidelity Inc., a title insurance company.

The principals in the Vineyard Golf Club now have an option to buy the property for $15 million.

The principals are Jay Swanson of Medfield, Owen Larkin of Boston and William VanderVender of Jackson, Miss. Their partnership is called Swanson Ventures LLC.

Mr. Swanson said yesterday that the title company has now guaranteed clear title on the land — a crucial step for the development plans to move forward.

The developers of the golf project have also begun to solicit founding memberships at a starting price of $125,000, the Gazette has learned.

Plans call for soliciting some 30 founding memberships to jump-start the golf course development, according to a subscription agreement obtained this week.

Now being circulated among potential investors, the subscription agreement lays out a detailed set of terms. Founding members pay $50,000 at the outset and another $75,000 once the golf club development is approved. There are no clear guarantees for refunds if the project is not approved. Development costs are estimated at $45 million, including the cost of the land.

Annual dues in the golf club are expected to be $5,000 or higher, according to the subscription agreement. After the 30 founding memberships, other memberships will be sold. “Membership fees for other classes of members in the club are anticipated to be substantially higher than the founding member fee,” the agreement states.

The three principals will each earn a salary of $15,000 a month.

The club will be limited to 300 members, and operating guidelines describe an upscale golf club with a traditional grille room, a caddy program and no tee times necessary for members.

The application filed with the board of appeals is accompanied by a preliminary routing plan. The plan includes two to four golf cottages, intended as overnight accommodations for guests of members. It also leaves open the possibility for some kind of residential housing adjacent to the golf club, in a 15-acre area designated for nine house lots on the original subdivision plan. The area is simply marked as member housing.

Mr. Swanson said yesterday that the residential housing component of the project is incomplete. “We would hope at some point to build a few houses — it’s zoned for nine houses now; if you did a cluster it could be 15 houses,” he said.

In the subscription agreement, the principals reserve the right to retain any profits from a residential development portion of the project.

Mr. Swanson said profits from residential development are not the central purpose of the project. “No — if this project hinged on residential development profits, we wouldn’t be here,” he said.

Swanson Ventures also has engaged an array of local people to work on the project, including Tom Wallace, a partner in Wallace and Co. Real Estate in Edgartown, and Edward W. Vincent Jr., a local attorney and chairman of the conservation commission.

The golf club proposal includes a plan to remove conservation restrictions that are in place on part of the property. Removing conservation restrictions is a complicated process requiring the approval of the local conservation commission as well as the state legislature.

There is no mention of the need to remove conservation restrictions in the subscription agreement.

The Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, a prominent Vineyard conservation group, is working as a partner on the golf course project.

The foundation owns four lots in the old subdivision and has agreed to sell the lots to the Swanson group in exchange for the right to review the golf course project. The foundation also manages a 45-acre, ecologically rare frost bottom on the property; protection of the frost bottom is the main reason for the foundation’s involvement with the project.

The preliminary plan calls for the golf course to be wrapped around the perimeters of the frost bottom, with two or three holes located near the protected area.

Foundation executive director Dick Johnson said yesterday that Sheriff’s Meadow has not endorsed any plan. “We’re not going to sign off until we see the final plan — it’s an ongoing process and we are going to try and get as much buffer as we can around the frost bottom,” he said.

The proposal also call for slightly relocating two ancient ways on the property.

Meanwhile, two other developers continue to push ahead with their plans to build golf clubs on the Vineyard.

One group wants to build a golf course on the site of the former Webb’s Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs, but the project was recently slowed when the area was designated a district of critical planning concern.

A father and son team from Natick are hard at work developing a proposal for a private golf club on some 200 acres owned by the MacKenty and Bigelow families on the Edgartown Great Pond. Rosario and Barry Latucca filed their application for a special permit with the zoning board of appeals in June; the project is now pending before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as a DRI.

The Latuccas have signed an agreement to buy the land from the MacKenty’s for $10 million, if the golf course project is approved.

The investment scheme behind the Latucca group is somewhat different, although equally pricey. A group of some 30 Island residents now have a handshake agreement with the Latuccas to invest some $75,000 apiece in the project. It is understood that the 30 investors have a deal with the Latuccas to split the up-front costs associated with the development 60-40, with the Latuccas assuming 40 per cent of the cost. But it is also understood that the Latuccas are sharing their 40 per cent 50-50 with Carpenter and Company, the Cambridge real estate company owned by Vineyard resident Richard Friedman. Mr. Friedman owns a home in the Oyster Pond area of Edgartown, not far from the MacKenty property.

One more curious fact was revealed this week — Tom Fazio, a world-renowned golf course designer, is doing the preliminary design work on all three golf course projects on the Vineyard. It is understood that Mr. Fazio has signed no contracts yet, and has said he will only commit to designing one course on the Island in the end.