FARMINGTON – The Planning Board worked late Monday night on a set of performance standards for creating open space in residential developments.
Byron Davis and William Marceau of Farmington Land LLC came before the board last month with their proposed Willow Springs, a condominium seniors’ community to be built on the site of the former dowel mill on Fairbanks Road.
But the Planning Board could not act due to the fact that Farmington’s zoning ordinance is not set up to review condominium projects. It only deals with subdivisions for residential development, Davis said Tuesday.
A committee created a set of standards that were placed on the March town meeting warrant but were voted down. Davis felt that there were just a couple provisions that defeated the article. For instance, one standard required that a developer plan for both cluster-type and subdivision housing even if he was only interested in one. People recognized that was a lot to ask a developer to do, he said.
Since then, they have hired a lawyer, Helen Edmonds of Pierce Atwood, who is a specialist in land planning, to help revise the standards. The board was given the revisions and went through them Monday. A vote of 6-to-1 will bring the standards before the zoning board, then selectmen and perhaps, eventually, back to a special town meeting.
Davis and Marceau propose to build 72 units over 36 acres at the site. A couple of acres in the front have been left for a commercial operation. This would be a 10-to-12-year plan, he said.
Half of the 36 acres would be open space with ponds and a spring-fed stream, Davis said. The other half would be densely built with units for people ages 55 and over.
Part of the project would be on a level grade with some up a hillside.
They hope to begin construction by early next spring after getting state and local approvals by January when they plan to start preselling units. The units will vary in size and have options that can be customized to the owners’ preference, he said.
Another applicant before the Planning Board Monday night, Coastal Enterprises Inc., will also have to wait for the standards to be enacted before proceeding on its project, Western Glen Subdivision.
The board and Code Enforcement Officer Steve Kaiser did not realize the application was for a condominium-type development instead of a subdivision until the meeting Monday. The proposal includes 23 senior-living cottages located on Wilton Road on land between Dr. Jan Roberts’ chiropractic office and Silver Shear hair salon.
Both can continue with their site reviews, soil erosion control and storm-water management applications while waiting for the open space standards to be accepted, Kaiser said.