Monday, October 30, 2017

Longmeadow's Long Range Plan Anticipated Brewer-Young Project

About 17 years ago the Town of Longmeadow sponsored an intensive study of long range issues facing the town.  The report issued in 2004 highlighted and recommended the possible need at some time in the future to allow selected conversion (repurposing) of large historic homes on Longmeadow Street to professional office use.

[click to enlarge]

Here is some background information about this study...

In May 2000 a task force of 14 people- including both town residents and elected officials was formed to study long range issues facing Longmeadow.  There was $60K of funding to hire consulting companies Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. of Watertown, MA and RKG Associates, Inc. of Durham, NH.  The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission of Springfield, MA also played a key role in this study.

A public forum held at Bay Path College in February 2001 which I as well as many other town residents (120+) attended in order to provide inputs to be considered by the task force.

After almost four years and many hundreds of hours of effort a 116 page report: Longmeadow Faces the Future: The Longmeadow Long Range Plan (click link to view full report) was issued in April 2004.

One of the issues studied and detailed in the report was Housing.
Here are some details developed by the task force and the professional consultants.

Longmeadow Street Overlay Zone
"In the future, if large houses on Longmeadow Street no longer prove desirable for single family residences, and either do not sell as residences or begin to fall into disrepair, the Town may wish to consider an overlay zone with strict design guidelines to permit some homes to be converted into professional offices, bed and breakfasts, or condominiums. Creative site and design review would preserve the historic character of the area."

"The third strategy considered for this analysis was to allow certain properties on Longmeadow Street to transition from single family residential to office or mixed-use over time. There are many stately and historic homes located along this corridor, and there is strong support in the community to preserve the historic character of Longmeadow Street. There is also no evidence at this time to indicate that these homes have become too expensive to maintain as single-family residences. Property values on Longmeadow Street are high and the corridor remains a desirable residential location."

"It is not the Town’s preference to change Longmeadow Street into a commercial corridor. However, offering property owners the flexibility to locate office uses within larger homes on adequately sized lots may be necessary in the future, if the cost to own and maintain these residences continues to escalate. The consultant team proposes that the Town consider allowing some commercial uses along the corridor, in strictly controlled cases, within larger structures and on lots with sufficient area to accommodate off-street parking." 

"There was a recognition by the group that most houses on Longmeadow Street were either too small in size or lacked sufficient land to be consider for a home conversion to professional offices." 

[click image to enlarge]

It is interesting, possibly only coincidental, but the above diagram showing a potential home conversion to professional office points to 734 Longmeadow Street- the Brewer-Young mansion.  

Figure 7 (see below) from the Long Range Plan report shows a possible conversion of this property with suitable landscaping and necessary to maintain the look from Longmeadow Street.  

This design is very much in keeping with a similar design proposal being offered by the Longmeadow Historic Partners, LLC group.
 [click image to enlarge]

The plan outlined by the Longmeadow Historic Partners to preserve the 132 year historic Wolcott-Brewer-Young mansion and repurpose it to professional office use is in keeping with the recommendations as outlined in the Longmeadow Long Range plan issued in 2004.

Let's allow the property at 734 Longmeadow Street to be rezoned to Professional