Brunswick Planning Board OKs Thomas Point subdivision plan, despite concerns

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BRUNSWICK — Amid concerns about an access road and traffic flow, the Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a sketch plan for the first phase of a new subdivision off Thomas Point Road.

The initial plans call for developing six lots and an access road. The applicant, EcoPath Developers, of Brunswick, eventually plans to subdivide as many as 35 lots on the nearly 30-acre parcel.

The site engineer, Tom Saucier of Topsham-based Site Design Associates, told the board Tuesday that the land is marked by freshwater wetlands, as well as potential vernal pools.

The reasons for constructing in phases, he said, are partly financial, and partly to monitor the status of the vernal pools.

According to plans for the project, the 2,175-foot access road now  snakes into two dead ends, avoiding a major wetland on the property. But this design was a sticking point for the board.

“A loop road … would be preferable to dead ends,” Planning Board Chairman Charlie Frizzle said.

He said dead-end roads can be dangerous in the event of natural disasters such as floods, and, on a more practical note, they are a nuisance for snow plows that have to make double trips.

Frizzle asked developers to review their plans before coming back for final approval, or at least “make sure you can justify this is the only solution you have available.”

A neighbor, Buckley Hugo, of Sandy Ridge Road, also had concerns about traffic flow.

Citing heavy use of Thomas Point Road during the summer to access Thomas Point Beach, he asked how “potentially 100 new people” in the area would affect that congestion.

“It’s just a matter of time before there’s an accident,” he said.

Despite concerns, the board unanimously deemed the sketch plan complete, allowing the developer to prepare a final application. After the meeting, Saucier said that will probably take a couple months.

Paul Sharon, of EcoPath Developers, said he hopes home prices in the new subdivision, named Beacon Ridge, would be under $300,000.

“There’s a huge demand for housing in Brunswick,” he said, “and that’s where the market is right now.”

“I don’t want to put ‘McMansions’ in there … I don’t believe people want that anymore,” he added.

Sharon and Saucier said they had been working on the subdivision plan since October, and were encouraged by twin announcements in February and March that Boston-based online retailer Wayfair, and Brunswick-based call center Savilinx, would be adding about 700 jobs at Brunswick Landing.

Sharon said he hopes the new employees will be interested in Beacon Ridge.

Walter Wuthmann can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or wwuthmann@theforecaster.net. Follow Walter on Twitter: @wwuthmann.

A topographical map of the proposed Beacon Ridge subdivision off Thomas Point Road in Brunswick.

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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.