2012-03-02 / Front Page

Addition design revised

Times Record Staff


Owners of the Plant Home will bring revised conceptual plans for a major expansion to the Planning Board on Tuesday evening, and at least one neighbor has voiced initial support for the new design.

What was previously envisioned as a two-story addition is now proposed to encompass four stories, with a two-story section over the turnaround and drop-off area, according to a Feb. 17 letter from Tom Saucier, president of Site Design Associates, on behalf of the Plant Home.

Two proposed duplexes on the south side of East Lane would replace a portion of the units that would be displaced due to the new construction, and one existing duplex would remain.

Plans indicate approximately 45 assisted residential units would be accommodated in the four- story main building, with two assisted residential units in the existing duplex and each of the proposed new duplexes.

This plan would reduce the building footprint by approximately 6,000 square feet from the two-story option previously proposed, according to Saucier.

This morning, Phyllis Bailey, a neighbor who had voiced opposition to the previous plan, said she was pleased Plant Home officials have considered alternatives presented by neighbors.

“ It’s a pretty creative design,” she said. “It is much more in alignment with best practices in assisted living, with shorter hallways for older adult consumers.”

Bailey said she also appreciates that the new building has been moved back off the point to preserve green space, “which we have a shortage of at the south end of town,” and elements such as preserving views for the residents.

“ I don’t think it makes everyone happy, but I think everyone’s happy with it,” Don Capoldo, executive director of the Plant Home, said today.

“I think as you look at the entire process over the last three years, the key piece to all this was the city supporting a contract rezoning,” he said. “We knew from the start that going up higher would reduce the footprint, which, from listening to the residents, was one of their concerns, but we couldn’t do anything because the zone had a height restriction which would only allow us to go two stories.”

Capoldo said that plenty of approvals remain to be secured, but that the Plant Home will have designs ready and financing secured if and when the permitting process is complete — he hopes within six months.

“We’ll be ready to put it out to bid, be ready to go,” he said. “Eighteen months ago, we were getting all kinds of calls from people in the industry, and this will probably give people a lot more faith that it will be going forward. We’ll probably begin the capital campaign again. We’ll put a timetable together to take advantage of the time we have while we wait. This is the best news we could get.”

Prior to the regular meeting at 6 p. m., the Planning Board will hold a workshop at 5 p.m. to hear a presentation about a proposed climate adaptation plan.

The workshop and regular meeting will take place at City Hall.

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