Pleasant St SDOD Heads to Council for Vote

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

The Planning Board approved the SDOD (Special Overlay Development District) on Monday night for the former nursing home at 142 Pleasant St. The owners now head to the Town Council on Tuesday, August 16 to get their approval of the designation.

More than a week ago,  over 100 residents packed the Senior Center to hear what members of the Town Council, the Planning Board and developers had to say about the project in a joint meeting.

The former Gov. Winthrop Nursing Home on the corner of 142 Pleasant St. and Woodside Avenue, has been abandoned for 10 years and under discussion for development for at least seven years.

The owners of the 142 Pleasant St. Trust comprised of the Roberto family have tried three times to do something with the property. At the most recent meeting meeting,  the trustees stated that they would like to develop the property into 12 condo units, not the 20 units proposed years ago. The building is about 20,000 square feet on a 31,000 square foot lot.

The purpose of the SDOD is to reuse what is already there without tearing it down, to redevelop and reuse, and enhance the value of the property. Two good examples of this type of zoning are The Arbors, which use to be Winthrop Hospital and the Dalrymple School which was turned into condos.

Also attending Monday night’s meeting were Town Council President Robert Driscoll Jr.; former council president Peter Gill; Precinct 5 Councilor Russ Sanford, Councilor Heather Engman, and resident Greg LaCerda, who asked for no more empty buildings in Town, especially 142 Pleasant St., because it is so close to the town’s center which is the topic of economic development talks.

Stasio said the board received 12 pieces of correspondence in favor of 142 Pleasant St., and two opposed from the same person. An opinion was also given by the town’s attorney from Kopelman & Page. It clarified that the Planning Board would have control over the project after the Town Council vote. The project then goes back to the Planning Board to work out design details. Stasio said the project was voted down two times since 2008.

“Last time 95 percent spoke against it,” Stasio said. “Now 90-95 percent are for it. In a public forum the trustees said there would be 12 units. They said it publicly so that would be difficult to change. They agreed in a pubic forum to build 12 units.”

“Have faith in us to do the right thing,” said member Vincent Zappulla.

Two other SDOD requests were also before the board Monday night. The developers from Ocean City Development who have an SDOD for the old church at 60 Hermon St. came in to give an update in its driveway work and boundary issue with a neighbor.

Also the owners of 15-17 Walden, the former Muffin Town site, also came in but were told they would have to re-submit their request for SDOD status due to a legal opinion from the town attorney’s due too a change in the proposal. They had come before the board months ago and were met with neighborhood opposition. There is expected to be a joint meeting of the Town Council and the Planning Board on Sept. 6.

Before the vote this week,  a new chairman was voted in for the Planning Board because long-time chairman Peter Roche resigned from the board unexpectedly. The board voted to make David Stasio the new chairman.

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