Yarmouth neighbors complain about development proposal

Posted Aug. 19, 2014, at 2:41 p.m.

YARMOUTH, Maine — Residents expressed concerns at a Planning Board meeting last week about a subdivision development proposed for East Main Street.

Paul Peck of LWS Development on Aug. 13 presented the cottage-style development to the board. The board made no decision, and heard only opposition to the proposal from about two dozen members of the public.

The project, at 224 East Main St., would consist of eight homes with garages; an existing farmhouse would be converted into two apartments. There would also be a central green space for the residents.

“We went with the cottage court development because we thought it was a good transition between residences and commercial developments,” Kara Wilbur, a Portland-based urban designer working with Peck on the project, said. She also said a residential development made more sense financially than a commercial development.

Although Peck and Wilbur said their plan would maintain the character of the neighborhood, members of the public told the Planning Board it wouldn’t.

“This would be a radical change in the neighborhood,” said David Tamminen, who lives next to the property. He said proposed gravel driveways are uncharacteristic of the neighborhood.

Others questioned whether utility vehicles and fire trucks would be able to use the entry road, which would be only 14 feet wide.

Neighbors said they also thought the road would be dangerous because it would increase traffic and make it unsafe for children and other pedestrians to walk through the area.

According to the project plan, the homes will be limited in size so there can be “breathing room” between the buildings. They will have small front yards, but will each have a front porch for personal outdoor space.

Joanna Tamminen said this isn’t the best way to do cluster housing. She urged the board and the developers to look at other developments, and suggested they look at property with more room to build.

Board members assured the neighbors they will take time to review Peck’s application and that if accepted, the plan won’t become the blueprint for future cluster homes. They said they judge every application individually.

Peck and Wilbur said the units will be modern homes, although they are still unsure about pricing. Peck said they originally intended to ask $300,000 for each home, but that the number now seems too high.

If the application is accepted, he said construction would begin in spring 2015.

 

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