YARMOUTH – A two-acre, town-owned parcel on Mill Street, at the edge of Royal River Park, may one day be the site of a 30-unit senior housing project.
Yarmouth Senior Housing, which built the Bartlett Circle apartments in the 1970s, will ask the Town Council to donate the land for the estimated $5 million project.
The private nonprofit agency renovated and expanded the community building at Bartlett Circle earlier this year. Now, the agency has set its sights on addressing the need for additional senior housing in town and is taking significant steps to get it done.
“Our mission is to provide affordable apartments for seniors of modest means,” said Margaret Downing, president of Yarmouth Senior Housing. “It may not be possible, but we want to try.”
The agency will discuss its plans and present concept drawings at a community meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Bartlett Circle Community Building. Agency officials will pitch the idea to the Town Council on 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Log Cabin.
The parcel is just off Main Street, in a lightly wooded area at the park’s edge, near the Rowe School and the Yarmouth Crossing commercial plaza.
The project’s goals jibe with the town’s comprehensive plan, which calls for developing additional senior housing, affordable housing and infill housing in the downtown area, said Town Manager Nat Tupper.
“We’ve been having discussions about their plans for some time,” Tupper said. “This is the spot in town that makes the most sense to them. My hope is that the project will enhance people’s use of the park and provide housing for seniors who want to stay in town.”
Town officials will hold a public hearing on the project and consider its impact on traffic, neighbors and municipal finances, Tupper said. The town assessor will provide a market value of the Mill Street parcel.
The housing agency zeroed in on the Mill Street parcel as an ideal location to integrate senior housing in an area where tenants can easily walk to shops, the public library and other community centers, Downing said. The agency typically has a waiting list of 15 to 20 seniors who are interested in living at Bartlett Circle.
Winning the council’s support to donate the land is critical to the agency’s plan, Downing said. If the council rejects the idea, the agency has no other location in mind.
The agency must secure a site before it applies to the Maine State Housing Authority for competitive affordable housing tax credits, Downing said. The agency would use the tax credits to attract private investors.
While Bartlett Circle is open to low-income seniors, the proposed housing project would be open to seniors with slightly higher incomes, Downing said.
The housing project would be a limited liability corporation that would pay property taxes for the first 15 years. After that, it would become a nonprofit that wouldn’t pay taxes.
Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: