Bath planners table vote on conversion to apartments

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BATH — The Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously tabled the proposed conversion to apartments of the former Family Focus building.

Affordable Midcoast Housing was seeking site plan and developmental subdivision approvals for the 2 Davenport Circle project. The building is in Bath’s Residential 2 zone, which allows the development.

“It’s what we call ‘by-right development,'” Planning Director Andrew Deci said in an interview Dec. 2. “Given the rules and given the land, these are things that if they meet the standard, they must be approved.”

The developer has the right to create up to eight units in the four-story, nearly 22,000-square-foot building, which has been vacant for several years, Deci said.

In opting to table the item to early next year, the board is seeking more information on landscaping and a provision of a complete property boundary survey for the project, Deci said, because the site relies on private easements from adjacent properties in order to access public streets.

The board wants “to make sure that those access easement areas are shown on the plot itself,” the planner said.

No changes are planned to the exterior of the building, according to a Nov. 30 memo to the Planning Board from Deci. Although the site’s rear parking lot had not been adequately screened from Winship Green, the applicant Affordable Midcoast Housing plans to build a stockade fence to meet the screening requirement, Deci explained.

The developer, which hopes to start work as soon as possible, would need no further approvals from the Planning Board, he said.

Demand for such housing remains strong in Bath, he added.

“The residential market is pretty tight in Bath right now,” Deci said. “There’s the demand for units, and the price of units right now, many times, is unaffordable. So additional residential units are beneficial in a lot of ways.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Affordable Midcoast Housing wants to convert the former Family Focus building at 2 Davenport Circle, Bath, into eight apartments.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.