Brunswick zoning committee plans new rewrite

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BRUNSWICK — The Planning Board on Tuesday approved a preliminary sketch plan for a residential subdivision that has stirred concern from residents of the surrounding Douglas Park neighborhood. 

Brunswick-based Coastal Building Investments is proposing to divide a 7.5-acre wooded area at the end of Boody and Barrows streets into 17 parcels for single family homes. 

Coastal Builinding plans to develop the area in three phases and sell the lots of individually without building on them. 

The planning board delayed action on an original sketch plan when it was brought to them by the developer last month, after questioning the viability of the proposed cul-de-sac road and the absense of a stormwater plan. 

Sketch plans usually have very little detail, and the planning board will consider the merits of the project in more depth when it comes up for final review, explained Board Chairman Charlie Frizzle. 

At that meeting, a number of residents of the nearby neighborhood expressed their concern that the development could exacerbate drainage problems in a notoriously wet area

In his presentation to the board Tuesday, Curt Neufeld, from the Sitelines engineering firm, showed a revised road plan that abandons the cul-de-sac for a simple loop that connects to Boody Street in the north and Belmont Street in the south. 

Coastal Building also plans to install a stormwater management system on the property that includes a series of ditches and underground pipes to direct water off the road and driveways into the town’s stormwater system, Neufeld said. 

“We’ll do the best we can in this neighborhood,” to mitigate the effects of stormwater, Neufeld said, but noted that the plan could not fix the location and soil type that create issues with water in the area. 

A stormwater plan provided by Neufeld has been reviewed by the town, but Town Engineer John Foster requeseted that it undergo a third-party peer review before consideration by the Planning Board, according to Town Planner Jeremy Doxcee. 

But water issues were not the overriding concern for residents who attended Tuesday’s meeting. 

Instead, a number worried that the subdivision would ruin the character of what was described as a quiet, unique and historic neighborhood and questioned the safety impact of additional traffic.

Lisa Bosi, who lives on Boody Street with her husband, questioned if there was precedent for a subdivision placed within a neighborhood. 

“I’m interested in what the precedent is and how to protect an existing neighborhood from quite an extensive addition of traffic and housing density,” Bosi said. 

Others, like Matt Loosigian, said developing the wooded parcel into home lots would be a blow to the neighborhood, especially for children and families that use trails to the property to reach Crimmins Field, a town-owned area. 

Morevoer, Loosigian expressed concern that prolonged construction could impact the neighborhood. 

“I can’t see us staying in our home if it is just going to be an ougoing construction site for 10 years,” Loosigian said. 

But Kathy Glen-Lewin, who bought a house in the neighborhood only a few years ago, said her neighbors were being “NIMBY,” referencing a “not in my back yard” attiditude, and should be glad to give other people a chance to move into the area. 

“I don’t think 17 houses is going to destroy the neighborhood if done properly,” she sad.

Town Councilor Sarah Brayman also questioned the developer’s request to waive a requirement to install sidewalks and urged the planning board not to grant it. 

Neufeld explained that the development could probably not fit a sidewalk and the planned stromwater system. Planning board members agreed the sidwalk discussion would be part of discussion over a final plan. 

Responding to some of the concerns, Frizzle said that a final review would take the character of the development and whether it 

BRUNSWICK — The committee directing the town’s zoning overhaul has set a new target of June to bring an updated ordinance to the Town Council for approval.

Planning Director Anna Breinich reported on the new timeline at Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting.

The Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Committee intended to have a final draft ready by December, but recently decided to extend the process after a number of residents and councilors complained the public was not being given enough time to understand and comment on the complicated document.

Committee members now plan to develop an interim draft of the ordinance, incorporating comments and suggestions made by residents, businesses and other stakeholders.

That draft will be open to further public input before ZORC members begin work on a third draft document to send to the full Planning Board for approval. 

According to Breinich, the committee hopes to have its revisions completed and delivered to its consultant, Clarion Associates, by January, and an interim draft prepared in February.

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