Harpswell could get 1st subdivision in years

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HARPSWELL — A proposed housing development would be the first new subdivision in town in several years.

According to former Town Planner Carol Eyerman, who is now the assistant planner in Topsham, it has been seven years since a subdivision has been proposed in Harpswell.

The proposal was submitted to the Planning Board on March 24 by William Clemons of Harpswell and civil engineering firm Sitelines. It went before the board on Wednesday night.

The application calls for developing a 44-acre parcel into 12 residential lots to be developed by future property owners.

The property, which has frontage on Harpswell Neck Road near the intersection of Peabody Road, is undeveloped except for a previously constructed private gravel road and a residential house on a 2.72-acre lot.

According to the application submitted by Sitelines, the proposed subdivision will include open space, and an approximately 1,900-foot long private drive.

The private drive does not meet Harpswell town standards, and will have to be upgraded and partially regraded during construction.

The town’s Comprehensive Plan indicates that the preferred land use for the parcel is “rural,” which “reflects Harpswell’s natural landscape of forest, field, and water.”

The developers are proposing what their application calls a “rural-type subdivision, with lots limited to two acres and a “substantial amount” of preserved open space.

The plan calls for 20 1/2 acres of forest to be preserved as buffers along Harpswell Neck Road, and for storm-water treatment adjacent to streams and against the shoreline. Nearly 14 1/2 acres would be maintained as open space to be shared by the future property owners.

Included in those numbers is a buffer within the portion of the parcel that falls into Harpswell’s Resource Protection Shoreland Zone, an area where the town “encourages preservation to the greatest extent practicable,” according to the developer’s application.

“This low-impact design will have a minimal result on runoff from the subdivided area,” Sitelines President Kevin Clark said in the proposal letter.

Eyerman said Harpswell, which has not hired a new town planner, has been “very slow, development-wise, because of the economy.” The proposal for a subdivision in town could be a sign that things are turning around, she said.

“I’m not a good prognosticator of the world economic situation,” Eyerman said. “But I certainly hope this is a good sign.”

Walter Wuthmann can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or wwuthmann@theforecaster.net. Follow Walter onTwitter: @wwuthmann.

Brunswick/Harpswell reporter for The Forecaster. Bowdoin College grad, San Francisco Bay Area native. Follow for municipal, school, community, and environmental news from the Midcoast.