ARUNDEL, Maine — The Planning Board has for a second time approved a new seasonal development in town, and the Board of Selectmen will weigh in on the project on Aug. 12.
The Arundel Seasonal Cottage Resort was first approved back in 2009, but due to the declining economy the project was put on hold. With an improvement in real estate and the economy, plans for the seasonal resort are back on the table.
The 259-unit resort would occupy approximately 195 acres of land on Route 1 just north of Fritz Tires and on the parcel of land previously known as the Southern Maine Landscaping and Gardening Center. According to the plans, the resort would offer stick built condominium-style homes with an average size of 800 square feet per unit. There are also plans for several amenities including a community center, children’s recreation area, a pool with a waterfall, several walking paths, access to the Eastern Trail, tennis courts and trolley services to nearby beaches and shopping areas. There is also an allotted parcel of land to be used for commercial real estate, allowing the potential for on-site restaurants and stores.
Town Manager Todd Shea told selectmen at a recent meeting that “this is a beautiful and beneficial project.”
Shea said that there are upfront costs regarding sewer, ledge blasting, septic and roadways. There would also be the construction of an emergency access to the resort through Hidden Meadows off of Mountain Road.
Shea said he feels that Arundel will benefit from the resort and hopefully attract a seasonal population to the town.
“Access to the Eastern Trail is a big selling point for the cottages,” said Selectmen Daniel Dubois.
Some potential concerns were raised by Selectmen Jason Nedeau.
“In five years we’ve gained 200 homes for fire and rescue to support with no revenue to expand,” said Nedeau.
On Aug. 12, Joseph Paolini of REM Development, the developer behind the cottages, will present the project to the Board of Selectmen at 7 p.m. at the Mildred L. Day School and request a Tax Increment Financing district be created to help fund the resort. Under a TIF, the town would not see a tax gain from the project until five years after the project begins but it will essentially not cost the town of Arundel anything additional if the project is approved.
“We will have 259 residents that will be paying taxes to Arundel but because they are seasonal and will not be attending RSU 21 schools, we will gain by saving on school taxes,” Shea said.
If the TIF is approved by the Board of Selectmen at the Aug. 12 meeting, the town will hold a public hearing to allow residents to vote.