Topsham selectmen sign off on sale of former Navy housing to Schott

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a resolution Dec. 15 for disposition of former Brunswick Naval Air Station housing.

The board’s decision involved the part of the plan concerning the Topsham Annex. It followed a 7-1 vote on Dec. 5 by the Brunswick Town Council, which supported Brunswick’s part of the plan.

The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority sought endorsement of the plan by both towns before moving ahead with the sale of the land underneath the homes to Auburn developer George Schott, whose company, Affordable Midcoast Housing, purchased the buildings last fall.

Selectmen tabled approval of AMH’s plan on Nov. 16. Board Chairman Donald Russell noted at last week’s meeting that “the board felt at that time that there were not enough specifics in it to endorse it and move forward with it.”

The resolution the board approved last week noted that AMH needs to own the land so it can market and manage sale of the homes.

The document also stated that AMH is committed to managing the number of units to be sold so that any negative impact on the area’s real estate market would be reduced; that AMH had agreed to a 12-point redevelopment plan for the annex; would report to the Board of Selectmen semi-annually or at the board’s request on the progress of home sales, and would work with the town and utility districts to address development plans for infrastructure and future housing.

The 12-point plan notes that AMH has demolished 56 housing units at the annex and would own the remaining 73, along with the land, roads, overhead and underground utilities, except for the electric distribution system.

A third of those 73 units are occupied, and AMH has said it expects to rent two more units each month to reach at least 90 percent occupancy in two years, depending on market conditions.

AMH also expects long-term construction of a mix of single- and multi-family homes or condominiums on the undeveloped land.

The company would first build new single-family homes on Liberty Circle, and then demolish multi-family units on Congress Circle and Parliament Circle, and construct replacement multi-family homes or condominiums.

MRRA, AMH and School Administrative District 75 must still sign an agreement for land and lease rights at the annex, allowing SAD 75 to create recreation fields. The town will work with AMH and SAD 75 to amend town ordinances to reflect agreed-upon changes in AMH and SAD 75 property lines.

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.