Mini-homes proposal advances in Ellsworth

Plans for a proposed housing development off Bucksport Road in Ellsworth

ELLSWORTH — A plan for a subdivision on the Bucksport Road featuring mini-homes got the initial OK from the city’s Planning Board last week.

The proposal from Roy Lietz calls for a 12-lot subdivision called The Village. It would start at the intersection of Atlantic Highway and the Bucksport Road, then run east (toward Ellsworth) and parallel with Route 1 from there.

Though Lietz now has a home address in Florida, he also spends time in Maine and is known by many as the owner of the former Roy’s Pizza in downtown Ellsworth. That restaurant was located in the space where The Mex now operates.

Lietz is specifically seeking approval to create what is known as a cluster subdivision. That allows small individual lot sizes (in this case, 100 feet by 100 feet) in exchange for setting aside common space (20 acres) that is not to be developed in the future. The homes, too, would be small.

“Each home will be relatively compact, with 500-600 square feet of living space with an attached garage,” according to the application submitted to the city. A model house is already under construction on the property.

Steve Salsbury, the surveyor who is representing Lietz, said some lots will be sold as vacant lots to be built on while Lietz will likely build small homes the on others and then sell them as developed lots.

Normally, the minimum lot size in this zone is 80,000 square feet, but that requirement is waived under rules for a cluster subdivision. The normal minimum in that case is 20,000 square feet; however, an exception would be made for The Village because the lots are set to be served by public water rather than wells. That avoids the possibility of well contamination from septic systems should they fail.

The lots would have individual septic systems. Each lot also has a backup septic site in case the first one fails. The homes would be accessed from Atlantic Highway. Workers had been accessing the property from the Bucksport Road, but that access will be closed and left as green space.

That arrangement was not by the developer’s choice, but rather because the Maine Department of Transportation previously bought and still retains access rights along the Route 1 corridor. The agency’s interest is to limit access points along the busy highway.

Board members had questions at their Sept. 6 meeting about what is and is not allowed in the common area. They also voiced concern about whether there is adequate sight distance from the entrance to the subdivision to the intersection of Atlantic Highway and Route 1. The particular concern was about how fast traffic coming off Route 1 might be going, and how quickly it might cover the 200 feet from the intersection to the access road.

Board members unanimously (5-0) deemed Lietz’s application complete. Salsbury said they intend to return for final approval at the board’s regular monthly meeting in October, set for Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The total size of the parcel owned by Lietz is 141 acres. Salsbury said at the Sept. 6 meeting that Lietz intends to do future development there as well. The proposed deed covenants for The Village lots include one that says no owner “may protest any future development proposed on the remaining land” owned by Lietz.

“This is notice of intent of future development and the extension of the infrastructure and utilities,” the covenant concludes.

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller has worked at The Ellsworth American since 2012. He covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland. [email protected]
Steve Fuller

Latest posts by Steve Fuller (see all)