Cumberland officials have approved two contract zones on Route 100 that will allow developers to build as many as 34 single-family homes with selling prices capped at $225,000.

The two affordable-housing projects will be directly across the rural highway from each other, between Wilson and Mill roads, in an area once targeted for commercial development.

The Town Council granted contract zones Monday for Walnut Hill and Castle Rock Drive, following recommendations that the Planning Board issued last week.

“The price is right, so there should be plenty of interest,” said Ben Grover of Cumberland, who is the developer of Walnut Hill. “I believe there’s a strong market for small, affordable homes in this area, especially among families attracted to Cumberland schools.”

The median home price in Cumberland is $350,000. Town and school officials in School Administrative District 51, which covers Cumberland and North Yarmouth, are looking for ways to boost flagging enrollment.

Walnut Hill, on the west side of Route 100, will include as many as 17 houses and will be built by A.H. Grover Inc. of North Yarmouth. Grover said he has agreed to pay Doris Wilson an undisclosed sum for the 17-acre property and give her one lot.

Grover plans to begin marketing the project immediately and hopes to get subdivision approval and start construction by the end of this year, he said.

Castle Rock Drive, on the east side of Route 100, also will have as many as 17 houses. It is being developed by Telos Capital LLC of Portland, led by Scott Lalumiere of Cumberland.

Telos has agreed to pay Elvin Copp $450,000 for the 10-acre property, according to a purchase-and-sale agreement. Lalumiere couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Town Manager Bill Shane approached Copp and Wilson in recent months to find out whether they wanted to pursue affordable housing developments on their parcels. They responded positively, he said, and their real estate representatives began marketing the properties.

Eligibility and project guidelines for the proposed subdivisions are similar to those that applied to Crossing Brook when its 49 homes were built near Town Hall 20 years ago, Shane said. Back then, the houses sold for $85,000 to $100,000 each. Now, they sell for about $250,000.

Grover said his company excavated and installed the road, utilities and foundations for Crossing Brook.

To be eligible to buy a house in one of the proposed subdivisions, a double-income family could earn no more than $101,220 per year, which is 140 percent of the median family income of $72,300 in Greater Portland, Shane said.

 

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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