Harpswell moves ahead on 2nd new subdivision

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HARPSWELL — After a seven-year dry spell, subdivisions are sprouting again.

The Planning Board in May approved plans for the first subdivision in town since 2008, a 44-acre parcel off of Harpswell Neck Road.

On Wednesday night, the board made moves on a second project, giving applicant Emile Clavet and his Quahog Bay LLC permission to submit a final application for the proposed 17-acre Charity Shores subdivision off Birch Run Road.

Clavet said the subdivision is “in large part a family project.” His family is currently building a house on Birch Run Road, and plans to move there from Auburn.

Clavet told the board he had already sold one lot, to help finance the larger project, and that Crooker Construction had built a 1,500-foot private road across the property.

The plans submitted to the planning board call for seven lots off of the private road, each about two acres in size.

Clavet said his family had settled on the name Charity Shores after researching the history of the property. In the 1850s, he said, a woman named Charity Griffin owned the land.

Griffin was African-American, and other residents disputed her right to own the property. She was eventually taken to court in Portland.

“She fought for her right to own it … and won,” Clavet said.

The subdivision plan was received positively by the Planning Board.

Members said, however, that Clavet should have his storm-water management study, conducted by Ransom Consulting, reviewed by another engineer to address concerns about erosion and runoff expressed by neighbors.

“We need to have another expert look over their shoulder,” board member Aaron Fuchs said.

About 10 property abutters attended the meeting.

Deirdre Strachan, of the town’s conservation commission, recommended Clavet add wording into the future homeowner’s association requirements to have residents preserve vegetated buffers.

“We’re concerned about the impact this development is going to have on the water resources,” she said.

“This sounds like a wonderful project,” Fuchs added. “We’re just trying to make sure it fits.”

In April, former planner Carol Eyerman said Harpswell’s first subdivision application could be a sign of the economy rebounding.

On Wednesday night, board Chairman David Chipman considered her point.

“This (project) has been in the works for a while,” he said. “But maybe this is the right moment.”

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