OceanView still tweaking plans for Falmouth property

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FALMOUTH — Plans for the former Plummer-Motz and Lunt schools changed slightly after representatives of OceanView at Falmouth met with town staff and councilors about the redevelopment master plan for the property.

Representatives from OceanView on Monday updated councilors on the progress of the master plan. Town Council Chairwoman Teresa Pierce also introduced zoning amendments to expand the OceanView Retirement Community Overlay District and to create the Elementary School Redevelopment District.

A public hearing on OceanView’s master plan will be held May 14. A planning board public hearing on the plan is scheduled for May 16 and the council is expected to vote on May 30.

OceanView and town officials in January signed a purchase-and-sale agreement for most of the former school properties. The neighboring retirement community plans to buy nearly all of the 21-acre parcel for $3.25 million.

The town retains ownership of a 2.2-acre lot that contains the Mason-Motz school building, along with 2.8 acres of property between the school buildings that OceanView will pay to renovate into a town green.

OceanView plans to add town homes, cottages and apartments to its existing facility. Plans also call for the renovation of the Lunt School, including a public-private auditorium, adult day-care facility and addition of a state-of-the-art memory support community on the rear of the building. The auditorium will be available for public use 40 percent of the time.

OceanView also is exploring the potential for an expanded public-private partnership on the site of the Plummer-Motz School. Those plans could include bringing Falmouth Memorial Library to the Plummer School and creating a community center at Mason-Motz.

As part of the deal, the town has the right to develop Mason-Motz into a community center within five years of the agreement.

On Monday, OceanView representative Rick Licht said project planners took councilors’ comments to heart to make updates to the senior apartment building and sidewalks portions of the master plan.

The master plan has been updated to provide additional details on access and parking for a potential new senior apartment building, which would be built on a slope between Lunt School and the village green. The building will contain housing units that are affordable, but not subsidized.

Licht said putting the new building in that location would allow developers to create underground parking for residents. The plan suggests combining a street entrance from Lunt with the existing parking lot at the village green so no new curb cuts are required.

Councilor Bonny Rodden said she lauds OceanView for planning to create underground parking, but questioned if the location next to Lunt is the best one for the new building.

“Any way you look at it, it’s going to cut down so many trees there will no longer be a buffer,” she said.

Matthew Teare, OceanView director of development, said the plan is to keep more intensive uses grouped together and add residential cottages – not an apartment building – in spots that are more visible to neighbors.

“I like the fact that you’re keeping large buildings together,” Councilor Will Armitage said.”I can’t imagine a three-story apartment building on the corner of Falmouth Road. … It would stand out, it would be all wrong for the neighborhood.”

The other change to the master plan presented Monday centered on sidewalks around the property. Licht said sidewalks around the “block” will continue existing sidewalks from Falmouth Road down Lunt Road and ultimately onto Middle Road to the Whipple Farm entrance of Blueberry Lane. Final design details of the sidewalks will be worked out pending surveys and an engineering study with the town.

Rodden suggested the council schedule a site walk of the school properties before the public hearing, an idea that was not supported by her colleagues. Teare, however, said OceanView would be happy to provide tours to individual councilors and residents who are interested in the project.

Gillian Graham can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or ggraham@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @grahamgillian.

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