Cumberland planners OK 58-lot housing project

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CUMBERLAND — A 58-lot housing project proposed for the center of town received unanimous major subdivision approval Tuesday from the Planning Board.

Bateman Partners of Portland plans to develop the 40.7-acre Doane property into a mix of single-family and duplex homes. The project is the first of three phases in the Village Green Revitalization Master Plan.

The board also conducted a sketch plan review of the third phase, which would convert the now-closed Drowne Road School – recently transferred back to the town by School Administrative District 51 – to senior housing. The 17,600-square-foot building could hold up to 40 apartments.

That phase will ultimately require both major site plan and subdivision approvals, according to Town Planner Carla Nixon.

Additionally, the Planning Board unanimously voted to recommend to the Town Council that the school property be added to the adjacent Village Mixed Use Zone. The addition would allow work on the building, currently in the Rural Residential 1 Zone, to proceed without a contract zone.

In the second phase, likely to come after the first and third, the Public Works and school bus facilities would be moved. Six single-family and 12 duplex homes would be built in their place, along with a nearly 43,000-square-foot mixed-use building that would contain 20 residential rental units and 14,300 square feet of office or retail space.

The Planning Board granted preliminary major subdivision approval to the first phase on Aug. 16. The project has needed permits from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and as of last week DEP had given verbal indication of its approval, with written approval yet to come, Nixon said.

The board made its approval contingent on the project receiving written DEP approval.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.