Hearing set on 48-unit housing project – The Bridgton News

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

A public hearing has been scheduled for June 16 at 5 p.m.
regarding a 48-unit “age and income” restricted residential housing development
at 15 Harrison Road.

Deciding to call for the hearing, the Bridgton Planning
Board Tuesday night via virtual meeting heard an overview of the project from
Laura Reading of Developers Collaborative (DC), a Portland-based development
group, and Michael Tadema-Wielandt of Terradyn Consultants LLC of New Gloucester.

The project, Reading noted at a previous meeting, is on a
tight timeline (approvals in place by Sept. 24) in regards to funding, which
planners understood and set an early hearing date.

Some of the project elements include:

• The L-shaped building is 2 ½ stories and includes an
elevator. It will have clapboards and shingles to keep with the “New England
architectural style.” First floor units will be 600 to 700 square feet, while
top floor space will be 700 to 800 square feet. Based on income guidelines,
rent would be about $786, including heat and hot water.

• There are two community rooms, one leads to an open
outdoor patio and gardening beds.

• The project would utilize two pieces of property, accessed
from Harrison Road. At one time, both pieces had residential homes there. One
piece (about two acres in the Downtown Village Business District) will serve as
the driveway leading to the housing development. It will include four to five
decorative street lamps (light intensity can be controlled) and a sidewalk will
be constructed to allow residents a safe passage to Harrison Road. Developers
have had conversations with Bridgton Fire Chief Tom Harriman regarding width,
including space in the parking lot area to adequately provide access to a ladder

In regards to the parking lot, there will be 53 spaces, five
accessible close to the building. If more handicap accessible spaces are needed
(thus requiring more space), the parking slots drop from 53 to 47.

Through experiences at other facilities, developers say 60
to 80% of residents have vehicles, so the number of slots should be adequate
for residents and visitors.

The second piece (in the Rural Neighborhood District) totals
about five acres. Tadema-Wielandt pointed out two sizeable wetlands on this
piece. The building will be constructed to the western side.

• A dumpster for solid waste and recyclables will be
enclosed and not visible from Harrison Road.

• The project will utilize town water and sewer (in the near
future) on Crockett Lane. Since the development will include a sprinkler system
for fire protection, the developer will upgrade the water line on Crockett
Lane. A walking path will connect the development to Crockett Lane.

Board Chairwoman Deb Brusini invited planners to offer
“advice” regarding questions they could see being asked during the hearing, but
asked them to refrain from discussing “evidence,” which will be addressed at
the June 16 meeting. “Advice” from planners included having information
regarding how people can apply; and will there be an “unloading” area close the
building for residents to ease access after a day of shopping.

In other business Tuesday night:

• Final approval was given to BD Solar North Bridgton LLC
(Dirigo Solar of Portland) to turn an old apple orchard on Chadbourne Hill Road
into a solar array. The property will house 15,120 solar panels with a gravel
access road up the middle of the 21.5-acre site.

The property is currently owned by Ricker Hill Orchards of
Turner. The existing orchard will be converted to a meadow and land cover will
be maintained to standards of Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s
meadow buffers. The area will be mowed twice a year, and motorized vehicle
traffic there will be limited to panel maintenance.

The project consists of a 4.99-megawatt solar array to
generate power that will be sold under a purchase agreement with Central Maine

Planner Dee Miller raised a concern at a previous review
meeting regarding the town having “protection” (in the form of a bond) that the
company would return the site to its natural state if the day arrived that the
solar panels were no longer useful. Language exists in the lease between Dirigo
and Ricker Hill regarding such matters.

Senior Project Manager Sean Thies of CES Inc. (Engineers,
Environmental Scientists, Surveyors) said DEP requires various reporting every
five years, and the company would gladly pass on the same information to the

Planner Paul Tworog felt requiring two bonds would be
“overkill” saying the town is at a minimal risk, while Planner Greg Watkins was
satisfied with the single bond between DEP and the solar firm.

Miller, however, emphasized her belief in “local control as
much as possible.”

“The town needs to be actively involved,” she said. “I have
faith in the DEP, but this is Bridgton property we’re talking about. We have a
planning board. We have an ordinance directed by the board. I believe in local
control, and we want the town to be able to initiate activity if necessary.”

Under the site plan’s financial guarantee, planners decided
to require the single bond between DEP and the firm. The final stamp of
approval will be made at the first Planning Board meeting in July.

• Because four abutters were not notified, planners ruled a
proposal by Terry Swett to create an “events area” at his Brown Mill Farm

“It was my own negligence,” Swett told planners. “I don’t do
this very often.”

Swett planned to meet with Code Officer Brenda Day this week
to be sure all pertinent parties are notified by today (Thursday) so planners
could put the proposal on their next agenda.

Discussion included: parking (it will be in a field area);
Fire Chief Tom Harriman put capacity at 74; an electric sound system will be
used (“the acoustics are wonderful in there,” Swett said); guests will use a
bathroom in the home (it has a 1,500 gallon septic tank), while events with
bigger crowds will access a porta-potty; ballisters will be needed on an inside

“It’s a very optimistic plan,” Miller said.

“We like optimism,” Swett responded.

• Planners Ken Gibbs and Dee Miller, working with Community
Development Director Linda LaCroix, have developed an information package to
explain the town referendum questions that will appear on the July 14 ballot.

The guide explains what a “yes” and “no” vote means. LaCroix
plans create a power-point and post it on the town’s website.

Planner Paul Tworog suggested a few changes be made so that
“phrasing be consistent.” LaCroix said the final draft will be reviewed by the
town’s attorney.

Source: http://www.bridgton.com/hearing-set-on-48-unit-housing-project/

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