Planning board unanimously recommends movie studio bylaw

Unanimous vote surprises many at planning meeting

By Tamara Race
The Patriot Ledger
September 16, 2008

PLYMOUTH — Unanimous planning board support for a movie and television production zone on the Waverly Oaks golf course property surprised many of the more than 100 residents who have followed the process for months.

Many thought it would only squeak by on a 3-2 vote with Malcolm MacGregor and Lawrence Rosenblum opposing. But both sided with Paul McAlduff, William Wennerberg and Marc Garrett in voting to recommend Monday night that town meeting approve the zoning bylaw Oct. 27.

“I was surprised because Lawrence Rosenblum openly opposed us,” Plymouth Rock Studios founder David Kirkpatrick said. “That (Rosenblum’s support) was a shocker.”

Kirkpatrick said his company was still willing to make changes to the bylaw if necessary to make the studio project a reality.

Rosenblum says he’s not opposed to the project but wants to see it done right.

“I love the concept,” he said. “It’s an unusual opportunity with potential benefits great enough to make it worth stretching for. If we can pull this off, Plymouth will have the roots of a very, very exciting future.”

MacGregor said doesn’t care to see movie stars walking through America’s Hometown, but he set aside his personal feelings during the review process.

While he wanted maximum building heights reduced by 10 feet and fewer housing units, they were not make-or-break issues for his support.

Putting traffic and road improvements into a special permit process made the rest of the bylaw easier to deal with, he said.

Kirkpatrick wants to build a movie and television production studio on the 240-acre Waverly Oaks site on Long Pond Road about a mile northwest of Clark Road and Exit 3 of Route 3.

The project would include 14 sound stages, a hotel, a screening theater, a village center, an education center and housing for artists.

Neighbor Joe DeSilva said he is concerned that the project would disrupt the rural quiet of Long Pond Road with excessive noise and traffic.

He and others, including town meeting member William Abbott, say the bylaw should require a phased approach to ensure neighbors are protected if noise and traffic projections are wrong.

Studio officials say they may build the project in phases, but want it permitted with one site-plan review.

Multiple discretionary reviews midway through construction are unacceptable, Plymouth Rock Studios development coordinator William Wynne said.

The project needs zoning approval from town meeting in October, subsequent special permits for traffic and road improvements, an agreement with selectmen guaranteeing the roadwork and state environmental permits.

Tamara Race may be reached at

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