Brunswick Planning Board gives initial OK to proposed Boody Street subdivision

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BRUNSWICK — The Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a sketch plan for the Chamberlain Woods subdivision, clearing the way for the developer to submit a final plan to the town.

The sketch plan, submitted by Coastal Building Investments, is the newest form of a proposed development for the undeveloped land at the end of Boody Street. The board tabled a previous application in September due to concerns over the viability of the project.

The proposed development put before the board on Tuesday is significantly smaller than the original plan for the site. Coastal Building Investments had previously planned for a 17-lot subdivision, which was a downsized version of a condominium complex approved in 2006.

Town Planner Jeremy Doxsee said the developer was compelled to downsize after it “received higher estimates for some development costs, like road construction and utility installation, that were considerably higher than they expected.”

The 7.45-acre parcel has frontage on Barrows Street and the end of Boody Street. The site plan now calls for 10 lots: eight new lots with frontage on a cul-de-sac, a lot on Belmont Street that has already been developed with a house, and a 4.4-acre “mother parcel,” which will remain undeveloped for the time being.

During his presentation to the board, Curtis Neufeld, the engineer who designed the project, said they plan to build the cul-de-sac as an extension of what is now the end of Boody Street.

The privately built road will be 225 feet long and constructed to town standards, with plans to be offered to the town for acceptance. Neufeld also said a popular public access trail from Boody Street to Crimmins Field would be preserved.

Past proposals for the parcel have drawn heavy criticism from the public, and uncertainty from the board, on the question of how storm water drainage would be regulated.

The site lies within the Mere Brook watershed, which the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has identified as an Urban Impaired Stream Watershed.

Neufeld explained that since the development would be sold in eight separate lots, the project fell below the threshold of the 20,000 square feet of impervious area that would have required a storm water permit from the DEP. It will instead go through the town for permitting.

During the public comment period, Boody Street resident Colleen Congdon, who lives adjacent to the proposed development, said “I like this a lot better than anything else that’s come up … so thank you.”

Congdon said she still has concerns about the consequences of the project, however, citing existing issues with drainage on Boody Street.

In an email after the meeting, Neufeld explained that downsizing the project had made the process smoother for everybody involved.

“Once the costs and commitment to a three-phase 17-lot project was fully understood, the smaller scope was deemed more appropriate,” he said. “… The housing market is improving; however, there is no crystal ball to indicate how fast new (lots) will be purchased.”

The mood following the meeting was positive as the 10 members of the public in attendance gathered outside Town Council Chambers. Congden said public pressure applied at meetings had gone a long way in making the developer downsize the project.

“People in the neighborhood really came out and helped,” she said. “Now it really fits more with the flavor of the neighborhood.”

The plan will now go to an independent review by Sebago Technics before a final plan is submitted to the town for approval.

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Brunswick/Harpswell reporter for The Forecaster. Bowdoin College grad, San Francisco Bay Area native. Follow for municipal, school, community, and environmental news from the Midcoast.