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South Portland Planning Board OKs gated community

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South Portland Planning Board OKs gated community

SOUTH PORTLAND — The Planning Board on Tuesday approved the site plan for a 42-home gated community on the border with Cape Elizabeth.
The first of four phases of the development, Carlisle Place, will consist of 13 single-family homes and construction could start in the spring, according to Mavis Brown, a partner in developer A.E. Brown Co. The project is scheduled to be completed over the next five years.
The development will be built on more than 24 acres of land that abuts the Cape Elizabeth town line on Carlisle Road, behind Grandview Estates off Highland Avenue.
The homes are expected to be marketed to baby boomers and empty-nesters who are looking to downsize their homes. City Planner Steve Puleo said the city has approved about eight different house designs, in one- and two-story configurations.
Puleo described the development as a smart growth project, because it clusters the development in an effort to maximize open space. About 12 acres, or 50 percent of the total area, will be preserved as open space.
The site plan approval, which comes with 16 conditions, brings to a close several years of planning, which included a joint meeting with the Cape Elizabeth Planning Board.
Puleo said the application process was complicated by the developer's desire to keep all of the facilities and utilities within Carlisle Place completely private.
Puleo said the roads and utilities within the development will not meet the minimum standards for city streets, so the city needed to ensure there were legal mechanisms in place that would allow the city to make emergency repairs to the system at the homeowners association's expense.
"They didn't want to build things to city specifications because of the cost," Puleo said, noting the city still has an obligation to protect the health, safety and well-being of those who will live in the development. "Obviously, with a project like this, we have to be careful."
Once complete, the development is expected to generate 32 more vehicle trips during peak morning hours and another 43 at peak evening hours. About 23 additional trips are expected to be made through the Evans Street-Highland Avenue intersection, but the developer has agreed to pay nearly $4,800 for future intersection improvements.
At Tuesday's meeting, Planning Board members applauded the developer's efforts to incorporate green, environmental friendly aspects into the homes.
"If people are going to be buying houses that are built, it's easier to do something green in the beginning rather try to do something after the fact," board member Caroline Hendry said.
Developer Earl Brown said his company is looking into getting basic certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the U.S. Green Building Council, the benchmark for environmental sustainability. He said solar panels will be available to anyone who would like them incorporated into their homes. The company is also looking into offering small, residential windmill kits, he said.
"There is as much green as I can put in them," Brown said.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net.