Cumberland Planning Board OKs senior housing project

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CUMBERLAND — The Planning Board unanimously granted major subdivision and site plan approvals Tuesday for the renovation of a school as a senior housing center.

The now-closed Drowne Road School – a 17,600-square-foot building that School Administrative District 75 turned over to the town this year – will be converted by Bateman Partners of Portland into a 38-unit apartment complex.

The project is the third phase of the Village Green Revitalization Master Plan. Nathan Bateman said Tuesday that Bateman Parters will apply for funding from the Maine State Housing Authority next month. If successful, construction could begin next June and finish 10 months later.

Last month the Planning Board conducted a sketch plan review of the project. Earlier this month the Town Council approved a change in zoning for the property from Rural Residential 1 to the adjacent Village Mixed Use Zone, which allows work on the building to proceed without a contract zone.

The Planning Board also granted major subdivision approval to the first phase, a 58-lot housing project on the Doane property in the center of town. Bateman will develop the nearly 41-acre property into a mix of single-family and duplex homes.

Bateman anticipates a mid-November construction start for that phase.

“Between May and June (2012) we’ll actually have brand new homeowners living at the property,” he said.

In the second phase, the Public Works and school bus facilities would be moved and six single-family and 12 duplex homes would be built in their place. A nearly 43,000-square-foot mixed-use building that would house 20 residential rental units and 14,300 square feet of office or retail space would also be built.

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.
  • stephen

    Senior housing is all well and good, but where is the affordable housing for young, first-time buyers? I don’t understand the many local efforts to attract seniors to the area, when there must be young people, people who grew up in Cumberland, Yarmouth, and North Yarmouth who want to raise their families here. Looking at current house prices, I don’t know how they’ll manage.