Plans for Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s new cadet parking lot in Buzzards Bay have been revealed.
The new lot, covering up to two acres of property across from Bourne Town Hall, will feature 237 parking spaces for academy students. The lot is also expected to be made available to Bourne residents.
Plans for the new parking lot were presented to the board of selectmen during its remote meeting on Tuesday, July 21. Joseph E. Longo, principal with JL3 Consulting, explained the project to the board members.
The lot will be located directly opposite town hall and in front of the new Hampton Inn, Mr. Longo said. It is the first parcel on the left after turning off Perry Avenue onto the newly created Kendall Rae Place.
Mr. Longo noted that the area is in a flood zone, so it needed approval from the conservation commission. The commission gave its approval during a remote Zoom meeting on June 18.
Mr. Longo said the parcel will be landscaped on all sides with trees, shrubs and ornamental grasses. The middle of the parking lot will also feature trees, he said, to provide more green space.
Solar-powered, bollard-style lights will be situated throughout the plot, with several of the lights illuminating a town-owned path that runs adjacent to the lot and Perry Avenue, Mr. Longo said. The path leads to the Cape Cod Canal and will provide illumination in the evening, he said.
“At night, it’s a little safer for those who go back and forth along the canal path as people do now in the neighborhood,” he said, adding that crushed stones will cover the path.
A small bus shelter where cadets can wait to be picked up by an academy shuttle bus to the campus will also be constructed. A section of the lot will feature a decorative split-rail fence, Mr. Longo said.
Town officials have been critical of the academy’s purchase of the property and its plan for a parking lot. Purchase of the property makes the two-acre parcel untaxable, given the academy’s non-tax status as a state entity.
Town Planner Coreen V. Moore has noted that the property is in what has been labeled the Downtown Core, or DTC. Virtually any type of enterprise, from a restaurant to a retail store to a nightclub, can go in the DTC—with stipulations, Ms. Moore said.
There is a minimum space requirement of 3,500 square feet for development in the DTC, Ms. Moore said. The Kendall Rae Place lot measures two acres, which comes to 87,120 square feet, far exceeding the zoning requirement.
Selectman James L. Potter questioned the large number of bollard lights. As presented, the lot would feature 20 lights. Mr. Potter wondered if that many were needed. He noted that the lot is open, with no building to interfere with light projected into the neighborhood.
“I was just a little concerned that there might be an awful lot of light here,” he said.
Mr. Long said the intention is not to “light up the neighborhood.” He said there is just enough lights with the appropriate wattage to overlap each other, and not to shoot light into the neighborhood.
Selectman Peter J. Meier suggested that a timer be placed on the lights so they go off at a certain time of the night. Doing so, Mr. Meier said, would save energy. Mr. Longo said the plan is to have timers installed because “the academy doesn’t want lights on at 2 in the morning.”
Selectman George G. Slade asked if the owners of the Hampton Inn had offered any comment on the project, positive or negative. Mr. Longo said he has had discussions with the owners, and said they had no issues with the new lot.
Town Administrator Anthony E. Schiavi said he has had discussions with academy officials about making the lot available to Bourne residents during off-school times, such as the summer. Captain Allen G. Metcalfe Jr., MMA’s vice president of operations, said the summer and weekends could be times the lot is made available to the public.
“We want to make sure that we ensure that the town has access to that parking,” Capt. Metcalfe said.
Mr. Potter also asked if the academy planned to “dial back” its use of other parking lots in Buzzards Bay. The academy has a rental agreement with the National Marine Life Center to use a satellite parking lot located behind the center’s building on Main Street.
Capt. Metcalfe noted that the academy does have several parking leases in town. He suggested that the academy is “trying to figure out what’s going to happen” given the current COVID-19 climate.
“We just wanted to make sure we had something stable for the foreseeable future,” he said. “That’s why we purchased this one.”
Mr. Longo estimated a construction start date of sometime in August, with completion in November.