Join The ‘Inn’ Crowd: Have Your Say On Governor Prence Property

By: Ed Maroney

Topics: Housing and homelessness

The Gov. Prence Inn. FILE PHOTO

ORLEANS A preference survey of potential new uses for the Governor Prence Inn property is open for responses until Jan. 9 and available online here.

Results of the brief opinion poll created by the town’s consultant, Barrett Planning Group, will be available Jan. 12 at 5:30 p.m. during a joint public meeting of the affordable housing committee, affordable housing trust board, planning board, and select board.

“We want as many opinions as we can get to ensure all options and ideas are considered,” Director of Planning and Community Development George Meservey wrote in an email. “We are seeking ideas from residents as to what they think is the best use of the site. The consultant will use this information as part of their study, so the Jan. 12 input session is a key milestone.”

The study is to be completed by month’s end, giving officials the information they need to decide by mid-March whether to ask May’s town meeting to purchase the five-acre property bordered by Route 6A and the Cape Cod Rail Trail. When the owners, Resort Enterprises, Inc., decided not to open this past season, they inquired as to the town’s interest before putting the inn on the open market. In October, town meeting authorized $15,000 to study the property for “affordable housing and other compatible uses,” an amount that was matched almost to the dollar by the affordable housing trust fund board. On Dec. 15, the owners signed a purchase and sales agreement that can be executed with the approval of town meeting.

The survey asks respondents whether they live year-round or seasonally in Orleans and/or work here, along with their age category from under 18 to 65-plus. Frequency of visits to the downtown area is the next question, followed by a menu of reasons for going that range from grocery shopping to hair cutting along with the always-useful “other” category.

Poll takers will weigh in on a list of “community needs we have heard about since we started working with the town a few weeks ago,” including a library, community center, affordable housing, and several others. People are asked to rate each as needed in the downtown, in Orleans as a whole, or not needed.

Next up are “potential opportunities the town may be able to consider” if the property is acquired. Respondents are asked to check off whether or not each should be considered, or if they need more information before making such a judgment. The uses listed are a community center, fire station, affordable housing, commercial space, recreational use, library, cultural use (museum, performing arts facility), and health care facility.

The final question probes what sort of housing should be prioritized: households with low incomes, single working people or couples, young families, older adults, people with disabilities, or all or none of the above. And yes, there’s a place to add an “other.”

In an email, Select Board Chair Kevin Galligan reported that he completed the survey over the weekend, adding that the board’s web page (www.town.orleans.ma.us/select-board) should have a new link this week to the letter of intent, purchase and sales agreement, and scope of work for the feasibility study. There will also be a link to the survey.

“I know all feedback will provide helpful info as we consider all community input on this important potential project for the town,” he wrote. “These are exciting times to shape the future of Orleans and I am so pleased to be a part of it.”