ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth Planning Board approved final plans for two major subdivisions at a meeting on June 5. Both were put forward by developer Jonathan Bates.
Bates plans to build four three-story apartment buildings off the Beechland Road (titled Jefferson Luxe Townhomes), behind Acadia Provisions and Global Beverage Warehouse, with a total of 45 units.
Bates has said he plans to furnish the units, which are geared toward professionals, such as those working at the new Jackson Laboratory facility nearby.
Much of the discussion at the June 5 meeting centered on traffic patterns in the area, particularly how the development will affect the nearby High Street and Beechland Road intersection.
Chip Haskell, the engineer presenting on behalf of Bates, said the company had been working with the state to conduct an analysis.
“We’re adding 27 trips in the p.m. peak hour,” Haskell told the board. “It’s very minimal. One every two minutes, not in any one spot. It doesn’t have much of an effect on this intersection one way or the other.”
Part of the recommendation to deal with the increased traffic, said Haskell, is to modify the light for those northbound cars heading left onto Beechland Road to allow a left turn on a green light when there are no oncoming vehicles. Right now motorists have to wait for the left arrow.
“That really improves that intersection drastically,” said Haskell.
City Manager David Cole said the city plans to synchronize the light with others in the area and “Bring[ing] all our lights up to a certain standard. Certainly that’s a pivotal link in the system, no question about it. Particularly with the growth of Jackson Lab. It’s on our radar screen for sure.”
Board members asked why the acreage on the application had changed since the last meeting. A previous application had the acreage at 1.82, rather than the 1.91 acres presented on June 5.
Haskell replied that the city tax maps had the acreage at 1.82, but surveyors found that it is actually 1.91 acres.
The slightly larger lot size helps the company meet regulations that require no more than 75 percent of the lot be covered by “impervious surface” that repels rainwater, such as concrete or asphalt. Previous plans showed roughly 90 percent of the lot being covered.
“We had another engineer run it through his system and determine it was at 71 percent [impervious surface],” said Interim City Planner Dwight Tilton.
The property will be served by city water and sewer.
The second development is across town on the Bangor Road, where Bates is proposing 15 units off Denver Way.
“Not much has changed,” in the plans, Haskell said.
The units will be two-bedroom, single-family homes (titled Denver Way Eco Homes) with garages served by private water and sewer. They will be unfurnished, long-term rentals targeting baby boomers who are downsizing, according to a previous presentation by Bates.