April 26, 2018
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Ellsworth OKs two 4-unit apartment buildings; neighbors concerned about effects

By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff

ELLSWORTH, Maine — While the Ellsworth Planning Board may have speedily green-lighted a new apartment development on Beckwith Court on Wednesday night, condo-owning neighbors are still worried the development will create danger and harm their way of life.

Senergy LLC won final approval to build two four-unit apartment buildings on Beckwith Court, across from 10 condos built by the same developer in the late ’80s. Now, the owners of those condos worry that, without written agreements with Senergy about property maintenance, they won’t have peace of mind.

Senergy has agreed to maintain Beckwith Court, the private access road from U.S. Route 1, and to take care of the parking lot used by the condo owners. Tenants of the new development will also use Beckwith Court to get to and from their apartments.

Chris Stanley is president of the Beckwith Woods Community Association, which represents the condo owners. He said Small had been responsive to many of the association’s concerns about development design and construction staging, but said the verbal maintenance agreement isn’t enough.

“[Small] says he’s going to take care of it, but what does that mean?” Stanley asked during the planning board meeting.

Stanley is worried the condo owners will have no say in the maintenance schedule and will be trapped by the whim of an uninvested groundskeeper.

“We can’t get them to commit in writing,” he said after the meeting. “But I guess it’s good we have them here tonight on the record.”

Steve Salsbury, who represented Senergy LLC before the planning board, said Small will be responsive to the needs of the property.

“Anybody who knows apartment buildings knows tenants will be the first to call when something’s not right,” he said.

Both sides said they’ll continue attempts to hash out a written agreement, but even if an accord is reached, not all condo-owning residents will be happy with their new neighbors.

“It’s just gonna be so tight, so crowded,” said Marcia Oinonen. “It’s all trees in there now, and quiet. Now the trees will be gone and instead of nature we’ll be looking at tenants.”

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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