LEWISTON — Concerns about bringing more large families downtown and a lack of parking are some of the main reasons a group of Lewiston landlords are opposing a new housing development.

Stan Pelletier of South Surry Lane said he has no problems with property owner Phyllis St. Laurent, but opposes her plan to build 29 subsidized housing units at property she owns at Bartlett and Pierce streets.

“These are four-bedroom apartments, so you have to know you’re going to have eight to 10 kids in that apartment,” Pelletier said. “It’s going to hit our school department hard again, especially if you bring in 29 families. Right now, it costs a lot per student to educate them, and this will cost more. That’s my concern. My taxes are going to go up because of this.”

Pelletier, his wife and 10 other Lewiston residents have launched a petition drive seeking to overturn the Lewiston City Council’s April approval of St. Laurent’s plan.

Pelletier said the group has collected 300 signatures, but not all have been verified as registered voters by the Lewiston City Clerk’s department. The group needs to collect 859 signatures to put St. Laurent’s plan on hold and schedule a city initiative vote on the matter.

St. Laurent owned three buildings that were destroyed in the May 2013 fires downtown.

Councilors approved the St. Laurent project on April 15. She plans to build 29 housing units with subsidized rents on three properties she owns at 149 Bartlett St. and 110 and 114 Pierce St., working with the Developer’s Collaborative, a group that has built projects in Lewiston before. It would be a $5 million project with subsidized rents and federal Section 8 housing vouchers tied to the development.

The project is aimed at families making 60 percent of the median income — about $33,700 for a family of four.

A similar development proposal by Volunteers of America Northern New England proposed in the summer of 2013 failed after landlords opposed the plan and the developers failed to get control of the property.

At the time, landlords said they were opposed to using government money to help outside developers build new apartments that would compete with them for tenants.

According to the current plan, St. Laurent would pay about $37,000 in property taxes each year when the work is finished. Half the property taxes paid by St. Laurent in a tax increment financing fund that can be used to help other, smaller landlords improve their properties.

Pelletier said he does not like that tax situation and is also opposed to amount of parking the development would provide tenants.

“It’s downtown, with one parking space per apartment,” Pelletier said. “That’s not right. I can’t do that. When I provide an apartment, I have to have two spaces.”

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