32-unit Falmouth condo project, town parking lot under consideration

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FALMOUTH — The Planning Board on Tuesday was expected to discuss preliminary approval of a 32-unit condominium project off Blackstrap Road.

In addition, the board was scheduled to approve a request from the town to build a new, nine-space parking lot off Hurricane Road that would provide better access to the trails at Blackstrap Hill Community Forest.

The condo project has been before the board twice, once in January and again in March.

Developer James Cummings initially sought approval to build single- and multi-family homes on the 18.3-acre property at 80 Blackstrap Road.

But after pushback from the Planning Board, he settled on a proposal to build 16 duplexes.

The units will all have heat pumps for heat and hot water, air exchangers, triple-glazed windows and solar panels where possible, according to the project application.

“While not net-zero, they will be very low (energy-)demand homes,” the application states.

Now known as the Tuscan Way condominium development, the project is in the new Residential Growth zoning district, according to Town Planner Ethan Croce.

Croce said the request for subdivision approval is the second step in a three-step process.

Cummings also needs a permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, he said, because the development is in a resource protection shoreland zone, as well as a resource conservation overlay district.

Plans call for access to the development from Blackstrap and Brookfield roads. In written comments provided to the Planning Board before the meeting, several neighbors questioned that arrangement.

The residents, who all live on Brookfield Road, said they don’t want to see more traffic on their residential street. They’ve asked the board to reconsider allowing access to the new development from their neighborhood.

Given the scrutiny the Planning Board has already given this project, Croce said it’s possible board members would “make requests for modification to fine tune the design.”

He said if the board gives the project subdivision approval this week, it would likely be August before Cummings could get final approval for the development.

Parking lot

The town needs approval from the Planning Board to build a new parking lot at Blackstrap Hill Community Forest because it’s within a resource protection zone and is nearby the west branch of the Piscataqua River.

Croce said it would replace a four-space lot that is often “at and over capacity.”

In a letter requesting a review, Bob Shafto, Falmouth’s open space ombudsmen, said the new lot would provide “an improved and environmentally stable location for users to gain access to the trail network that feeds into the “community forest property.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.

A sketch shows the proposed layout of 16 new duplexes off Blackstrap and Brookfield roads in Falmouth.