WINTHROP – Neighbors of the former Playmakers and church at 60 Hermon St. met last Thursday night with the developers of the property.
Ocean City Development, represented by attorney Richard Lynds, has filed for a special development overlay district (SDOD) as opposed to the Residential A zone it is right now. The SDOD is a special zoning designation meant to encourage the reuse of property and must meet special criteria. This is the third time residents have heard from the developers and this time was more casual.
Set up by Town Councilor Paul Varone, Thursday night’s meeting was attended by eight abutters, Council President Peter Gill, Council VP Craig Mael and Fire Chief Paul Flanagan. This time pizza, sandwiches and refreshments were also offered by the developers.
Since this topic came up in January, neighbors have expressed concerns about what was going in the vacant building, parking, retaining walls, infringement on property lines and the general impact.
Purchased in July 2014, Ocean City Development shared that it would like to turn the property into four or five condominiums, requiring seven to 10 parking spaces depending on the number of bedrooms. With five units there could be two, two bedrooms and three, one-bedrooms. With four units there could be four, two bedrooms.
Lynds explained to abutters that the 11,207 square foot building offered several configurations. He stressed that the size of the units had an impact on parking and on whether or not a unit becomes a rental property. He stressed his clients are inclined toward condo sales.
The neighbors stressed that they did not want the units to be rentals.
“Four to five units works best. It’s the sweet spot for this type of development,” Lynds said. “Rental is not the ideal use.”
Realtor Jonathan Polino, who said he is not engaged in the sale, said the units would be high-end with hardwood floors, granite countertops and recessed lighting.
Ocean City Development filed a petition with the Planning Board in October 2014. The Planning Board approved it Dec. 29, 2014. Then it has to go to Town Council for approval before it goes back to the Planning Board. Lynd said they applied for the SDOD to change the use which in the past has been an arts center and a church.
From a safety standpoint, Lynds explained that the renovated building would have a sprinkler and alarm system that it does not have now. Flanagan agreed saying the building is in the worst condition it could be right now.