EASTHAM — The select board has chosen nine members and two alternates for the committee charged with making recommendations for developing the former T-Time parcel on Route 6 and identifying other resources or partnerships that might help with that process.
The regular members of the new committee are Andrea Aldana, Suzanne Bryan, Steve Garran, Scott Kerry, Stacey Klimkosky, Joan Lockhart, Jacquelin O’Rourke, David Ritchie, and Karen Strauss. W. Davis Hobbs and Stephanie Fields are the alternates, who will step in if a committee member should need to drop out. The committee will serve as an advisory, not regulatory, board.
Interest in joining the group was high, select board Chair Aimee Eckman told the Independent. “We had 25 applicants, which is pretty unheard of for any committee,” she said.
The select board, seeking broad knowledge in a range of disciplines, ranked the experience of applicants in housing, economic development, conservation, open space, and recreation.
Aldana and Strauss stood out, Eckman said, as having knowledge across the board. Aldana is the director of housing advocacy for the Community Development Partnership, a nonprofit that develops and manages affordable housing. Strauss, who at one time worked for Microsoft, serves on the town’s conservation commission and is an active volunteer for the Audubon Society.
Several of the members are business owners. O’Rourke runs her own consulting business, called Outermost Education Services; Garran has his own accounting firm; and Kerry runs an insurance agency. Lockhart is in sales and marketing and is a member of the Eastham Painters Guild. Klimkosky is a teacher at the Truro Central School.
The select board wants to include a high school student in the group as an intern. The town has received two applications so far and the board expects to select one at an upcoming meeting.
The history of efforts to develop the former driving range goes back several years. The Stop & Shop Company bought the 11-acre property from the Tedeschi family for $1.3 million in 2013. Two years later the Stratford Partners Group proposed a 130-unit affordable housing development at the site. Stratford tried to get the town to agree to making the project a 40B Local Initiative Plan or “friendly” 40B, referring to the state law that enables developers of affordable housing to streamline the approval process in municipalities where less than 10 percent of the housing stock is judged affordable. That effort failed when the select board voted against it.
Stratford then went through the normal 40B process with the zoning board of appeals but was denied a comprehensive permit. Stratford took the ZBA to the state housing appeals court. At the same time, the town negotiated with Stratford to acquire the rights to purchase the property.
In April of this year, Eastham reached an agreement with Stratford and Stop & Shop to buy the land for $1.6 million.
The purchase was approved at the May town meeting. One concern is that the sale came with a deed restriction, imposed by Stop & Shop, that prevents a food market from operating on the site. This could limit the possibilities for a mixed-use development there.
Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe and Town Planner Paul Lagg developed a set of criteria for the new committee to use in determining the best use of the parcel. They include social and community value; business value; adding vibrancy and aesthetic appeal; economic development; infrastructure improvements; creativity; potential regional partnerships; and consistency with the goals of the town’s five-year strategic plan.
The committee’s work will unfold in two phases, with the first focused on data gathering and research to identify possible options. Phase two will narrow those options toward making a recommendation to the town.
The committee will meet monthly, Beebe said. Their first meeting was on Dec. 17.
Asked about the overall time frame for the project, Beebe said by email, “We are hoping to have a proposal for town meeting 2021.”
Any project there or resale of the property would require coming back to town meeting.