Plans take shape for Cape Elizabeth office/apartment project

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Planning Board this week got a look at a proposal to build two office buildings with residential apartments at the town’s northern gateway.

Dentist Jin Hwang wants to build the two buildings on land along Route 77, the former home to a Cumberland Farms store and gas station. Preliminary building designs presented to the board indicate a turret on one structure and a cupola on another.

Hwang, who lives in Falmouth and has an office at 4 Scott Dyer Road, could not attend Tuesday night’s workshop, but three project professionals working on his behalf were there. The goal of Northeast Civil Solutions President Jim Fisher, landscape architect Barry Hosmer of Barry Hosmer Architecture and architect Chris Bakkila of Custom Concepts Architecture is to prepare a plan ready for site approval.

The design must conform to the town’s ordinances, including having the building’s front face Route 77. The workshop did not include public comment.

The project, at 287 Ocean House Road, already has a permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection. The two buildings will sit on the existing footprint of about 5,600 square feet.

Two apartments will be in each building. There will be no parking space changes from when the store operated; there are 25 parking spaces and 26 are needed. Planning Board members were told the daytime business use of the medical buildings will leave room in the evening, when apartment residents return home.  

“I think we’ve got a pretty good project on that old campus,” Bakkila said.

Planning Board Chairwoman Carol Anne Jordan and several other members raised a concern that the apartments would become short-term rentals, as in online provider Airbnb.com.

Jordan also asked that a white flowering catalpa tree remain at the site.

Lisa Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or lconnell@theforecaster.net. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.

Engineer Jim Fisher, left, and architect Chris Bakkila review designs in a March 7 Planning Board workshop for two medical office buildings proposed for the former Cumberland Farms property on Route 77 in Cape Elizabeth.

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