Cumberland planners to review Route 100 housing proposal

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CUMBERLAND – A 20-unit housing complex will return to the Planning Board next month for site plan review.

The development, proposed for the Allen Farm Country Store property on U.S. Route 100 (Gray Road), would have five, four-unit multiplexes.

The two-bedroom, energy-efficient units would sit back from the road and border Tammy Lane, a private way. A nearly 13,000-square-foot manufacturing building – already approved by the town – and a 9,000-square-foot retail building would sit closer to U.S. Route 100.

About 1 acre of open space would separate the residential units from the commercial enterprises.

While the units have been planned as rentals, developer Grun Development has also looked into offering them as condominiums, Town Planner Carla Nixon said July 6.

“It doesn’t really matter to the town which way they go,” she said.

If rented, the units would go for between $1,500 and $1,800 a month, without utilities, Marlene Eaton, owner of Grum Development and the project’s developer and real estate broker, said July 6.

The entrance to the multiplexes was originally proposed  to be off Tammy Lane, to offer a more residential feel, Nixon said.

But after residents voiced concerns such as increased traffic, the narrowness of the road, and existing site distance at the June 21 Planning Board meeting, the proposal was tabled and the plan was amended to have U.S. Route 100 be the access point.

The manufacturing building would have 83 new parking spaces, while the retail structure would have 90-100, Eaton said. Grun has an agreement with the owners of the Allen Farm store, and with the owners of two neighboring parcels at 193 and 195 Gray Road, where the buildings would be constructed after the existing ones are demolished, she noted.

If the town approves the project, Eaton said she hopes construction can begin in late August or September.

The project follows three housing developments completed on Route 100 a few years ago: two between Mill and Wilson road, at the former Castlerock commercial subdivision, one across the street at Morrison’s Hill, and Emerald Commons, farther north on Route 100, toward the Gray line.

Calling this latest project “very desirable,” Nixon said, “We’ve been trying to get a commercial vitality out on Route 100. And it’s been slow going, because there aren’t a lot of people out there. … So the idea is that if we can create a population base that will need services for retail, restaurants and things like that, we can get start getting a development node.”

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

Multiplex housing, and retail and manufacturing buildings are proposed at 197 Gray Road (U.S. Route 100) in Cumberland, as shown in this visual by the Gorrill-Palmer engineering firm.

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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.