A consulting firm has identified two prime parcels in the vicinity of the Sandwich Hollows Golf Club for potential development into athletic fields.
And the town needs more multi-sport, rectangular athletic fields, according to a recreation survey conducted by the town in recent weeks. A total of 560 people, 90 percent of them Sandwich residents, responded to the survey.
Eric Q. Roise, project manager and landscape architect at Gale Associates Inc., spoke Monday evening to 20 residents and town officials at the golf course clubhouse on the latest developments in a recreation master plan for land in the vicinity of the golf course.
The town has hired the firm, which is based in Weymouth, to help it find and analyze options for potentially more recreation fields and facilities near the golf course.
One is the former driving range at the golf course. Mr. Roise said the 11-acre parcel is fairly level, a key concern for the development of fields, and near services and utilities already in place at the golf clubhouse.
The other is land that abuts the rear of the Oak Ridge School property. Mr. Roise said the land again is near utilities and services, this time at the school, and also is close to an existing access, Mill Road.
The remaining three parcels are more problematic.
One consists of land previously taken by the town for nonpayment of property taxes. Mr. Roise said the parcel lacks access, has severe and steep topography, and is crossed by a right-of-way for power lines.
Another is near the current driving range. That parcel also lacks access and also has steep, severe topography.
The fifth parcel consists of land purchased through the Cape Cod Land Bank. Mr. Roise said that the courts consistently have held that parcels were purchased with land bank funds to prevent development, including development of recreation fields and facilities. But Mr. Roise said that the parcel may prove a good place for passive recreation, such as walking trails.
As for the survey results, Mr. Roise said respondents said the town needs more rectangular, multi-sport fields. They said that the existing fields often were in subpar condition because of heavy use, resulting in limited availability.
Respondents also said the town needs more baseball diamonds.
Survey respondents said they would be prepared to support the cost of increased staff to maintain new fields.
Mr. Roise said Gale Associates will be back for a meeting on June 23 at which the firm will present a possible plan for fields, trails and other recreational facilities for land in the vicinity of the golf course, as well as alternate plans.