Plans advance in Brunswick for 34 new homes

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BRUNSWICK — Two new subdivisions are each a step closer to becoming reality.

On Tuesday, the Planning Board approved final plans for the Beacon Ridge subdivision off Thomas Point Road near Cooks Corner.

The board also authorized a sketch plan for an 11-unit subdivision at 363 Maine St.

That approval came despite opposition from neighbors in the Parkview-Meadowbrook neighborhood, and concerns from board members about the plan’s amount of impervious surface.

Tom Saucier, of Site Design Associates, told the board that the final plan for Beacon Ridge includes a 1,223-foot access road off Thomas Point Road. The 15.2 acre parcel would have 23 single-family homes.

Developer Paul Sharon, of EcoPath Developers, said he expects the new homes will cost under $400,000.

The board’s approval came after lengthy discussion – and setting aside concerns by Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Emerson, who said the area lacks adequate water for fire suppression. Because the development falls outside the nearest hydrant zone, Emerson advised in a letter that the developer either extend water lines or install sprinkler systems in each home.

But Saucier and Sharon pushed back on the recommendation. They said the action isn’t mandated by ordinance, only a new policy, and would warrant unanticipated costs. The board estimated that extending the water line could cost around $300,000.

Ultimately, the board agreed with the developers, with the condition that deeds for the homes include notice that they fall outside the hydrant zone.

Chairman Charles Frizzle conceded that the board could not enforce the fire-suppression policy until it is ratified in a new zoning ordinance; a draft is under review by the Town Council.

Saucier also quelled earlier concerns that the presence of five wetlands on the property would alter development plans, citing approval from the Department of Environmental Protection, which deemed the site’s vernal pool non-significant.

Further, the access road – to be called Beacon Drive – has been modified to terminate in a wide “hammerhead” turnabout, instead of splitting into two dead ends.

The project construction will also provide a connection to town sewer lines.

363 Maine St.

The board told developers Ken Betts and Paul Clark of Raspberry Rows that the impervious surface in an 11-unit subdivision on a 2.27-acre parcel at 363 Maine St. might have to be reduced if they want final approval.

Park said that he would sell lots in the $70,000-75,000 range, and the homes would cost between $300,000-400,000.

Initial plans for the development – which encompasses an existing home and 10 new, one-story, single-family units connected by a looped drive – call for 42 percent coverage by impervious surfaces, which exceeds the town’s 35 percent maximum for a subdivision.

Michael Tadema-Wielandt of Terradyn Consultants, who presented on behalf of the developers, requested a waiver from the town, explaining that he intended to mitigate the excessive surface with a local stormwater management system that meets state guidelines. Tadema-Wielandt said he has discussed this option with town staff.

The proposal was opposed by at least two board members. Frizzle said he “fundamentally opposed” the waiver; board member Jane Arbuckle was also hesitant.

However, the plans did not stop the board from unanimously approving the sketch plan, with the provision that the waiver be justified at final review. The board indicated they would schedule a workshop to discuss the issue in greater detail.

Six neighbors expressed concerns about the proposed development, objecting to how the new homes would contribute to traffic on Maine Street.

While the board members didn’t feel a traffic study is necessary – since the area handles ample traffic from nearby Parkview Medical Center – Betsy Leonard of Appleview Drive called the project “much too ambitious.”

Abutter Michael Hughes warned that the property may include wetlands that support wildlife like ducks, foxes, and deer; he invited the board to survey his property to see for themselves.

Callie Ferguson can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 100, or cferguson@theforecaster.net. Follow Callie on Twitter: @calliecferguson.

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Reporting on municipal, school, and community news in Brunswick and Harpswell. Bowdoin graduate, Wild Oats sandwich-eater. Callie can be reached at 207-781-3661 ext. 100, or cferguson@theforecaster.net.