Planning Board dives into mobile home park expansion plan

By Ben Holbrook | Apr 18, 2017
Photo by: Ben Holbrook Planning Board members on April 12 started reviewing an application to expand this mobile home park located off Congress Street.

Belfast — Planning Board members on April 12 took a more detailed look at a plan to expand the mobile home park off Congress Street.

The park, which is owned by Connecticut Property Management, sits on about 22 acres. Currently, there are 21 mobile homes on the site and the proposed expansion would create 31 new lots. Planning Board members previously reviewed a sketch plan for the expansion.

As part of the expansion, the property owner will upgrade existing utilities, which includes installing new water and sewer service, as well as buried electricity and telecommunications conduit. Tom Fowler, the project's engineer, explained the sewer system would drain to a private wastewater system pumping station within the park, which would then direct the waste to a city-owned pumping station at the intersection of Congress Street and Airport Road.

The expansion will also require constructing nearly 2,100 linear feet of new road to serve the additional lots in the park. Plans for the road and utilities will be reviewed by the city's engineer.

Connecticut Property Management will own the lots, which will be leased to homeowners. Each lot will be greater in size than 6,500 square feet.

Fowler noted the expansion will impact about a third of the 5 acres of wetlands on the property. A permit to disturb the wetlands and one regarding stormwater management are under review by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Army Corps of Engineers. Fowler said state officials have indicated a final decision on those permits will be made by June 19.

A previous iteration of the plan showed a boat storage area on the property closest to Congress Street. That idea, however, was tabled in favor of upgrading existing water and sewer utilities. In addition to upgrading and installing new utilities, a roughly 22,000-square-foot recreational area with picnic tables and grills will be made available to residents.

The property owner does not intend to develop all of the new lots at once, but instead will do it in stages.

Board members had few issues with the plan as presented. Fowler said he plans to submit additional information about stormwater management on the property. No one addressed the plan during a public hearing and city officials said they did not receive any comments.

While reviewing the application, board members agreed they would not require the property owner to conduct a traffic study. Fowler said he estimated the new lots would not result in enough vehicle trips to warrant such a study.

The application will undergo additional scrutiny at a future meeting, possibly late in May. At that time, Fowler said he intends to have more information about stormwater management plans, as well as specifications for some new lighting that will be installed on the property.

City Planner Wayne Marshall pointed out in a previous interview with The Republican Journal that it has been a long time — almost 30 years — since the city fielded a mobile home park application. In the early 1990s, the state mandated that towns identify areas where mobile home parks are allowed.

Union Street deck expansion

Applicants Chris Hurley and Roseanne Costello asked for approval to add a deck and balcony to the rear of an existing garage. The garage is entirely nonconforming as to the side setback requirement.

Costello said she plans to use the two-story garage as a studio and wants the deck so she can enter the studio from the backyard. The deck will be 7 1/2-feet long and 4 1/2-feet wide with a set of steps. A balcony of the same size will be built above the deck.

Planning Board members approved the request.

Crossroads East Subdivision

Subdivision owner James Rutland asked Planning Board members to dissolve Crossroads East Subdivision. Rutland never sold any of the six lots on Stephenson Lane and he intends to merge the 15-acre parcel with an abutting 26-acre tract of land he owns.

"Just a note to everybody, but this has been, like, the second or third reverse subdivision due to the high taxes in Belfast directly related to our school system," Planning Board member Wayne Corey said.

That comment sparked a response from Marshall, who said there are many reasons — other than taxes — that contribute to a person's decision not to move forward with such a project.

Planning Board members approved Rutland's request.

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