NEWRY – Hoping to hit a niche vacation second-home market, a group of Massachusetts business owners has proposed building a 38-unit condominium project in eight separate multi-family buildings. The pre-modular constructs will be set on foundations on a 38-acre parcel between Sunday River Road and Sunday River opposite the ski resort of the same name.

The Pines at Sunday River project by applicant, The Pines at Sunday River Development LLC of Braintree, Mass., is before the Newry Planning Board and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

“We’re trying to hit a niche we’ve seen in demand for off-mountain, secluded townhouses,” Matthew Cusack, managing partner for The Pines, said by phone late Thursday afternoon in Braintree.

Each two-story building will be located in a “pocket” in the woods for more privacy, Cusack said.

The site will have 1,600 feet of frontage along Sunday River plus broad, level uplands, floodplain wetlands and several small intermittent streams that drain into the river, according to its subdivision permit documents.

“We’re trying not to disturb the land as much as possible,” which is why they took great pains to avoid the parcel’s wetland areas, Cusack said.

Six of the buildings will have five units while the other two have four. The project site is across from Skiway Road behind the old Newry one-room schoolhouse. It is adjacent to two previously permitted development projects, The Peaks Subdivision and Mountain Vista Condominiums, both under construction.

Pending DEP and Newry Planning Board permit approval, which Cusack said he expects in mid-May, work could begin this summer on the four-phase project.

Cusack and Bob Berry of Main-Land Development Consultants Inc. of Livermore Falls, The Pines’ project agent, presented it to Newry planners on Dec. 6 and again on Dec. 20. Planners raised concerns about flooding at each meeting that were met by Berry.

Documents in The Pines’ subdivision permit application state that portions of the site are within the 100-year floodplain of Sunday River.

In one such study, a Feb. 28 prehistoric archaeological survey by James Clark of TRC Customer Focused Solutions in Ellsworth, Clark stated, “The project area is wholly situated within the current (active) and ancient floodplain of the Sunday River.”

Sunday River is dynamic and a major drainage system for Maine’s Western Mountains region, and an Androscoggin River tributary.

But Cusack said Thursday that neither the planned road to the buildings nor their locations are in the floodplain. Additionally, the buildings cannot be placed along Sunday River, but must adhere to a 200- to 250-foot setback requirement.

“Eighty percent of the land is bone dry,” he said.

Land around the buildings will be raised and foundations built two feet above the area’s 100-year floodplain elevation. The minimum requirement is at least one foot.

According to documents in The Pines subdivision application, other members of the company are David Mirabassi of Bayview Construction Co. Inc. of Boston, who has been in the construction industry since 1975, and Andrzej J. Brzezinski and Ewa Brzezinska, owners of LaserComp Inc., of Saugus, Mass., a company that specializes in manufacturing thermo testing instruments.

Cusack said The Pines at Sunday River Development LLC has development experience in Massachusetts, but this is its first foray into Maine.

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