Land title issues force Plymouth Rock executives to consider other parcels - some in Plymouth and some not.
The star-studded town meeting at Memorial Hall may have to wait until Plymouth Rock Studios lands a site.
Selectmen have agreed to postpone five movie studio-related articles while studio officials look for alternative sites, most likely in Plymouth.
The project was planned for 1,000 acres of town-owned land off Route 25, but land title problems, some dating back centuries, could delay the development for too long, studio development coordinator William Wynne said.
The company is not revealing its list of alternative sites, but Wynne said nine sites are being considered, all in Plymouth County. Seven of the sites are in Plymouth. Some are privately owned and some are a combination of public and private sites, he said.
The news that the site in South Plymouth is in doubt disappointed neighbors there who enthusiastically supported the studio project.
Plymouth Town Meeting representative Tim Grandy, who lives near the 1,000-acre site and served on the citizens committee reviewing the project, said his neighbors will be disappointed. “They will be sorry to lose the studio project and the proposed highway ramp,” he said. “It leaves us wondering what else might be built there.”
Helen Hapgood, chairman of the Plymouth 1,000 committee, a neighborhood group formed to find a use for the property, was also disappointed.
“We spent a lot of time on the project,” she said. “They (studio officials) were a good group. I’ve never seen a group so concerned about the neighbors and so willing to work with us. They’re good people. I hope the town doesn’t lose them.”
While town and studio officials knew titles on the land the land were murky, Wynne and studio attorneys believed they could clear them up within a reasonable amount of time.
“We had a plan, but recently learned the plan will take much longer to accomplish,” Wynne said. “We’re not giving up on the site, and we’re not going away.
“The project is still going to happen, but we’re looking at ways to make it happen faster. We want to get this studio up and running.
“If anyone has a large parcel of land upwards of 150 to 200 acres, they should call us. But we’re committed to Plymouth County and would prefer Plymouth,” Wynne said.
Wynne said the company wanted to have a site set by the end of June. Campgrounds and golf courses are likely options for the amount of acreage Plymouth Rock Studios needs.
Wynne said the company is looking at parcels today and will likely have an announcement within two weeks.
The 1,000-acre town-owned land is composed of thousands of tiny parcels that the owners abandoned long ago. The town has taken some for non-payment of taxes, but others remain in limbo.
Many of the titles are hand-written documents, Wynne said.
“If you look close enough you might find Governor Bradford stamped them,” Selectman Kenneth Tavares said, referring to the 17th-century leader of Plymouth Colony. “This is a disappointment, but we need to use all our resources to keep this project in Plymouth. This is not insurmountable.”
“We still like the site and believe it could work, but not as fast as we would like,” Wynne said.
Tamara Race may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.