Camelot Farm redevelopment heads to Portland Planning Board

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PORTLAND — Developers are moving toward site approval for a residential subdivision in Stroudwater, although a necessary zoning change depends on the outcome of a Nov. 7 voter referendum.

“We are still excited about it,” developer Michael Barton said Monday of plans to build 98 single-family homes and 25 townhouses on 55 acres at the former Camelot Farm.

A 4:30 p.m. Planning Board workshop Oct. 4 in City Hall will reveal details of the three-phase project Barton hopes can get underway in 2018 at 1700-1714 Westbrook St.

“Starting in the first half of next year is the goal, to take advantage of the construction season,” he said.

The workshop will be the first step in the site approval process for land now zoned as R-3 and residential open space. The change from an R-1 zone was narrowly approved by the City Council July 24.

But the new zoning would be overturned if voters approve the “Give Neighborhoods A Voice” referendum question, which would allow a zoning change to be blocked if 25 percent of registered voters who live within 500 feet of the change file written objections.

The proposed ordinance amendment would also allow developers to overturn objections to the new zoning by gathering signatures from 51 percent of the registered voters within 1,000 feet of the change.

The change being proposed is retroactive to May 15, and Westbrook Street resident Mary Davis filed enough objections at the city clerk’s office in June to overturn the new zoning.

But regardless of the referendum result, Barton said he and his partners will build on the land.

The site plan application concentrates the first phase of development on the field around the house at Camelot Farm, where Peter and Mary Rogers raised a family of 11 children. The 45-acre farm went on the market in October 2015, following the death of Mary Rogers earlier that year.

Barton and his partners also bought 10 acres adjacent to the farm that border the Maine Turnpike. The entire development parcel is also bounded by the Stroudwater River, and 24 acres will be set aside as open space with public access.

Barton said the easement that turns land over to Portland Trails for public access is done, and he has been talking to METRO officials about extending a bus line along Westbrook Street, perhaps as part of the service expansion to Gorham.

Site plans will also require state approval for development and stormwater management.

The shift to an R-3 zone reduced the minimum lot size to 6,500 square feet from 15,000 square feet, and the site plan application letter from Will Savage of Acorn Engineering said lots are expected to range from the minimum to 20,000 square feet.

The 25 townhouses clustered adjacent to the turnpike are in the planned second phase of development. They would be accessed from a road extending from the first phase of about 50 single-family homes.

The third phase of development will complete construction of the single-family homes and add a second access road to Westbrook Street.

Twelve affordable housing units will be included in the full project, Savage said, to conform with the city’s inclusionary zoning requirements.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Plans for developing a subdivision at Camelot Farm, 1700 Westbrook St., will be reviewed by the Portland Planning Board on Oct. 4.

A preliminary site plan sketch filed in August shows the phases and possible lots for developing Camelot Farm on Westbrook Street in Stroudwater.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.