FALMOUTH — Town councilors agreed Monday night to sell former school properties at Middle and Lunt roads to the owner of the adjacent retirement community.

The council voted 7-0 to authorize the sale of the former Plummer-Motz and Lunt schools to the OceanView Retirement Community.

The purchase-and-sale agreement, to be signed today, gives the town and OceanView until Dec. 31 to complete the sale.

Several conditions must be met before the town can receive the $3.25 million purchase price agreed to by both sides. And the town will not keep all of the money; officials expect a profit of about $1.8 million.

The council was scheduled Monday night to consider putting the $1.8 million into a reserve account, to be tapped in the future to develop a community recreation center.

But council Chairwoman Teresa Pierce said she polled councilors and found agreement that the issue of a recreation center should be treated separately from the sale.

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OceanView is proposing to develop 36 apartment units, 35 single-family cottage units and an Alzheimer’s assisted-living unit with at least 30 beds. Some of those plans may require land-use and zoning approvals from town boards.

The biggest obstacle might be a provision of the purchase-and-sale agreement that requires the town to spend as much as $1.5 million from the sale of the school property to remove encumbrances, restrictions and covenants on the land.

Town Manager Nathan Poore said that in 1981 the town accepted a federal Land and Water Conservation grant to develop public outdoor recreation uses of the land. Now that the property is being converted to a retirement community, the town must find a way – possibly by acquiring another parcel – to mitigate the impact.

If the cost of converting the land exceeds $1.5 million, the town can terminate the purchase-and-sale agreement.

The agreement calls for OceanView to work with the town to develop a village green on the land that might include a playground, a gazebo and green space suited for meetings, concerts, a farmer’s market and a holiday tree lighting ceremony.

OceanView also must build an auditorium in the former Lunt School, which could be used by the town.

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The town will initially retain the Motz lot, but could require OceanView to buy the property for $200,000 at any time within five years after the deal closes.

No public comment was taken at Monday’s meeting. Residents got a chance to weigh in on the proposal at a hearing last week, and expressed overwhelming support for OceanView’s offer.

Councilor Bonny Rodden was the only councilor to comment Monday night. She said she likes OceanView’s commitment to building an Alzheimer’s unit, and that the village green should be a gathering place not only for OceanView residents but for the community.

“I hope that the town will be committed to providing the community with a community center at some point,” Rodden said. “But all in all I think this is an impressive proposal.”

OceanView offered at least $1.25 million more than two other potential buyers.

The Plummer-Motz and Lunt schools closed in June, before the Falmouth Elementary School opened in September on Woodville Road.

The schools were the subject of a contentious referendum in June, when voters narrowly rejected a proposal to redevelop them into a community center and a public library.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: [email protected]

 


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