Residents react positively to new plans for Hospital site

Jun 5, 2024

LAKEVILLE — Changes made to the proposed housing development at the former Lakeville Hospital site received a favorable response from residents during a meeting on Wednesday, June 5 about plans for the land.

“This whole development is the best thing to happen to Lakeville,” said resident John Gregory. 

“It’s getting rid of the eyesore. It’s taking that huge piece of property right in the middle of Main Street and turning it … into something new and something good.” 

Wednesday night’s event was the second community engagement meeting organized by Rhino Capital Advisors to present the plan to the public. The developer presented updated plans that took into consideration feedback given by residents at the first community engagement meeting in December. 

The master plan includes cottages for residents 55 years and older, a senior living community as well as multi-family and affordable housing. A total of 458 units will be constructed according to the developer. 

This will include a 200 unit apartment rental facility, with 50 apartments that will be affordable, said consultant Geoff Engler. 

When this proposal was presented in December, residents expressed concerns about how close the multi-family housing component and adult cottages were to neighbors. 

In the new version of the master plan, there will be a buffer between Rush Pond Road and the  multi-family housing facility, Rhino Capital Senior Manager John O’Leary said. 

Other changes include a reconfiguration of the placement and design of the 55 and older cottages and an additional dog park. 

Community members have expressed a universal desire to clean up the property, said O’Leary.

Lakeville resident Norm Bossio was happy to find that Rhino Capital had listened to his concerns that the age-restricted cottages were too close to his home on Rush Pond Road. 

In the new design, there is more of a buffer, he said. “They’ve taken steps and did respond to my suggestions at the last meeting.”

O’Leary said that in general, “feedback has been good” on the updated master plan and added that building this development justifies the cost of demolishing the structures.

The project has yet to be approved by the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, according to Rhino Capital. Site-plan reviews for parts of the project are scheduled to begin at the end of June. 

A previous proposal to build warehouses on the site was soundly rejected by Special Town Meeting voters in 2022.