Condo site visit planned

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FARMINGTON — A Planning Board decision on proposed downtown condominiums will follow a walk over the property and public hearing planned for 3 p.m. May 24 at 223 Main St.

The project, Riverview Condos, is proposed for construction behind William Marceau’s Foothills Management and Development. The nearly 1,900 square-foot building with five two-bedroom condos is designed for the back portion of the nearly half-acre lot that sits between Main and Front streets.

The project meets town standards and includes one parking space per condo even though it’s not necessary, Brian Rayback, Marceau’s attorney said. The project is within a zone that allows an exemption on parking requirements.

“There’s a niche and a need in the community,” Marceau told the board. Marceau, a Planning Board member, excused himself for the presentation on his plan for age-55-plus housing.

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“It’s within walking distance to the post office and grocery store,” he said.

It’s also close to abutting homes. On the south side, homeowner Christie James voiced concerns, and Bruce McInnes, whose home is on the north side questioned the parking.

“I have a lot invested in my home to restore it’s historical character,” James said.

The Main Street homes, south of downtown, provide an entrance into town. The building will change the character of the town and the value of the homes, she said.

She was also concerned about a historical garden dating back to the 1930s on her property. The building would take away the privacy, she said.

Both McInnes and James questioned where five parking spaces would be added, and James asked access for emergency vehicles in the less than 10-foot driveway on her side of the building.

Marceau responded to James’ concerns about the garden by asking “Why is there a wind turbine sitting on your lawn if you want a pristine environment?”

A third abuttor, Franklin Savings Bank President Peter Judkins, whose office would overlook the new building, told the board he supports the project.

“Everything that Bill does is done tastefully and maintained better than most,” he said.

After meeting with Farmington Fire and Rescue, some changes have been made, William Lane, site developer from Gartley and Dorsky of Camden, said.

A carport over the five created spaces on the front of the building was eliminated, and adding a nearly 5-foot graveled space on Front Street would allow the department to park on the road and have space to plant the fire truck’s supports. Access on a walkway and stairs along the steepest part of the banking is also planned, he said.

The plan covers the departments concerns for accessibility, Fire Chief Terry Bell said. While a truck could come in from Main Street, the Front Street space allows the department’s 100-foot ladder to reach the building on the back of the lot.

“It works for us. It’s not perfect but it works for us,” he said.

James asked the board to separate the site visit and public hearing but the board has done it this way on other projects and denied the request.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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