Mass Development is a state agency that works to help facilitate economic development.
Sandwich Assistant Town Manager Douglas Lapp said the grant is a pre-development award to look at the general marina area with a focus on 22 acres of town-owned land but with a general focus of the whole marina area.
The area includes the Sandwich Marina basin, to the Cape Cod Bay beach next door to Horizons Restaurant and across Tupper Road to the Merchant’s Square shopping district. There are extensive wetlands there on the town-owned parcel, Lapp said.
There is privately-owned commercial land nearby as well as land owned by the large utility company, Entergy, for the power plant with its large smoke stack on the canal. Most of the land on the water’s edge is owned by the federal Army Corps of Engineers.
“We’re not talking about the town acquiring any land,” he said.
A kick-off meeting was held Thursday, September 18 to get general public feedback on possible areas of development or uses that might be positively received by the community. The town is looking at both a five-year plan and a 50-year plan for the area, Lapp said.
Consultants will put together proposals and come back to the town in a few months to make a presentation to the board of selectmen, Lapp said.
One specific idea floated was a high-rise hotel. “Whether that is possible or feasible in this area remains to be seen,” Lapp said.
But he said the purpose was to talk about how much density people want to see there and what areas are potentially available for development and if people are interested in new development or in maintaining the status quo.
On the subject of density, Lapp said, the consensus at Thursday’s meeting was people want to see improvements and changes in the area and they do want to see more development with an understanding of environmental constraints.
“How much density and exactly what it would look like remains to be seen,” he said.
He said people also spoke in favor of an improved interconnection between the Sandwich marina area and other parts of town that abut it, such as the Merchant Square shopping district.