Topsham to tackle TIFs, neighborhood plan at special Town Meeting

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TOPSHAM — A neighborhood revitalization plan and two proposed tax increment financing proposals are among items voters will consider at a Sept. 25 special Town Meeting.

The gathering will take place at Mt. Ararat High School at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25.

One of the two proposed TIFs, for affordable senior housing, will be addressed in Article 2. It would be created for River Landing, a three-story apartment building proposed for the former Amenity Manor nursing home property on Elm Street. The facility will contain 36 units, and the TIF would help keep the units affordable.

The Planning Board recently granted River Landing final subdivision and site plan approvals.

The other TIF, in Article 3, would be anchored by Main Street and would be the second in Topsham designated as municipal (the first is at Topsham Fair Mall). The district would stretch along Main Street from the Frank J. Woods Bridge to near the Interstate 295 overpass, with some parcels northeast of Route 196. It would include the Lower Village, Middle Village, Village Center, Limited Industrial, Business Park 2 and Residential 4 zones.

John Shattuck, Topsham’s economic and community development director, has said the municipal TIF discussion was prompted by the potential of a Lower Village waterfront park and connected traffic improvements; conveyance of the Topsham Commerce Park (formerly the U.S. Navy Annex) to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, and continuing budget challenges.

Article 4 asks voters to adopt the Elm and Green Streets Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.

Recent studies have looked into the potential for redevelopment of Topsham’s lower village, including waterfront access, traffic and the feasibility of a riverside trail.

But while a town press release earlier this year noted the area is a significant and historic component of Topsham’s downtown, it is not included in the town’s Main Street plan, nor does it have a specific redevelopment plan.

The final two articles propose adoption of an amendment to Topsham’s zoning ordinance on light manufacturing uses, and authorization of a Community Development Block Grant application.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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.